witness(redirected from lay witness)
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in law, material submitted to a judge or a judicial body to resolve disputed questions of fact. The rules discussed in this article were developed in England for use in jury trials.
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in law, a person summoned by a court or investigating authority to give testimony concerning circumstances that are known to the person and are important for resolving a criminal or civil case. In Soviet law, a witness may be any person, with certain exceptions, regardless of age or relationship—family or other—to persons involved in a case. The exceptions include defendants in criminal cases, representatives in civil cases, and people who for mental or physical reasons are unable to perceive the facts or give accurate testimony. The accused may not be questioned as a witness on the circumstances surrounding the act for which he or his accomplices are accused. A witness cannot be replaced and is not subject to challenge.
A witness must appear when summoned and must given complete and truthful testimony. Failure to appear without good reason can result in a fine or compulsory appearance. A witness is criminally responsible for giving deliberately false testimony, for refusing to answer, or for giving evasive answers. He has the right to give testimony in his native language, and at a pretrial investigation he may look over the report of his questioning and request corrections and supplements. A witness may also request an appeal of the actions of an investigator. A witness summoned to testify continues to receive his normal wages and is compensated for traveling expenses and lodging.