This long essay research focuses on “holistic appraisal of the principles of competence and compellability of a witness in criminal trial”. The essence of this project is to examine the principles of competency and compellability of a witness in relation with criminal trial and even civil in a narrow context since the two’s are partners in administration of justice.
The general rule is that every person charged with offence is innocent until proved guilty by a competence court of law. Therefore in conclusion as to the guilt or innocence of an accused, the evidence of a witness(es) is vital and indispensable.
This rule is contained in section 175 of the evidence Act of 2011, the effect is that all persons are competent both in criminal and civil cases to testify, unless the court considers that they are prevented form understanding the questions put to them, or not able to give the rational answers to those questions, by reason of tenders years, extreme old age, diseases, whether of this body or mind or any other cause of the same kind.
Another fundamental basic principles is that everybody is competent to testify but not compellable, because compellability deal on issues as to whether a witness obligated to give evidence at proceeding or not. In doing this, I relied on primary and secondary sources to obtain the materials for research, mostly, analytical methods/ library based.
I also make use of textbook, Journal, statutes, articles written by learned authors and other relevant materials related to the topics. Persons calling a witness should show on a balance of probabilities that the conditions sec. 175(2) EA are satisfied and hence competence. Children and mentally handicapped are presumed competent. The only test is provided in sec 175 Act (2). Finally recommendation will be made in order to proffer solution that will lead to amendment of the law.