Cross-examination is a very important process in summary trial. The main object of cross-examination is to find the truth and defection of falsehood in human testimony. It is design to destroy or weaken the force of evidence a witness has already given in person or elicit something into your favour which he has not stated to discredit him by showing object of cross-examination from a litigious standpoint.
Whether a prosecution witness once had impeachment proceeding completed against him, ought to be still cross examined by the defence counsel or not ? The matter about the cross-examined has been stated in the section 173 (e) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Section 173 (e) of the CPC stated that :
(e) The accused shall be allowed to cross-examine all the witnesses for the prosecution.
So, we can see that this section makes provision for the accused to cross-examine all witnesses for the prosecution. Okay, that is the basic. Denial of opportunity to the accused to cross-examine the prosecution witness will be an improper exercise of judicial discretion and will amount to miscarriage of justice. It is trite that there is an obligation on the defence during the stage of cross-examination to put all question that are relevant and known to the particular witness, which the accused intends to rely upon his defence to enable the witness a chance to agree or disagree with the defence case. The problem is whether the defence counsel also can still cross-examine the prosecution witness although the impeachment proceeding has been completed against him. Actually in practice, our courts have been very liberal and does not deny or interfere in cross-examination. To the credit, of our courts, notwithstanding, there is no express provision to defer cross-examination. Our courts have permitted the cross examination of any witness to be deferred until any other witnesses to be recalled for further cross examination. If we look at the Evidence Act 1950, section 138 of the Evidence Act provided that :
Order of examinations and direction of re-examination
138. (1) Witnesses shall be first examined-in-chief, then, if the adverse party so desires, cross-examined then, if the party calling them so desires, re-examined.
(2) The examination and cross-examination must relate to relevant facts, but the cross-examination need not be confined to the facts to which the witness testified on his examination-inchief.
(3) The re-examination shall be directed to the explanation of matters referred to in cross-examination; and if new matter is, by permission of the court, introduced in re-examination, the adverse party may further cross-examine upon that matter.
(4) The court may in all cases permit a witness to be recalled either for further examination-in-chief or for further cross-examination, and if it does so, the parties have the right of further cross-examination and re-examination respectively.
It is trite that there is an obligation on the defence during the stage of cross-examination to put all question that are relevant and known to the particular witness, which the accused intends to rely upon his defence to enable the witness a chance to agree or disagree with the defence case.
In the case of Paramasivam v PP . The issue of before this case is whether the learned judge was right in refusing to allow a prosecution witness, to be cross examined. counsel for the accused asked that he be allowed to cross-examine the witness before the ruling was made and that in the interest of justice she should be allowed to complete her evidence. He was denied the opportunity asked for. The court then ruled that the witness was successfully impeached by the prosecution and that her evidence would not be considered. But, on the appeal stage, the appeal court held that the defence should at all times be allowed the opportunity of defending within the well-established principles of adversary trial as against...
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