Saturday, August 19, 2006
From 680news.com: University of Manitoba CrimProf Lee Stuesser discusses the decision of whether or not to let a defendant testify with 680 News Radio.
The decision whether to testify depends in large part on the type of case it is, said Stuesser.
If it's a question of identity, whether the suspect was involved in the crime, there's often little to be gained by testifying since the onus is on the Crown to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, there are cases that cry out for a defendant's testimony, such as sexual assault cases where consent is a key question.
Lawyers also approach cases differently depending on whether there is a jury, said Stuesser. In a jury trial, the Crown and judge can't make a negative comment if a defendant doesn't testify. But if it's a judge alone, they can consider the decision in limited circumstances where "the facts are such that call for an overwhelming response from the accused."Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]