CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, August 19, 2006

CrimProf Lee Stuesser Discusses the Defendant Testimony Decision

Stuesser2From 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]

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