By: Richelle WilliamsClass: Criminal Evidence—James AlexanderDate: February 16, 2014 |
Hearsay evidence refers to the kind of evidence the probative force of which depends in whole or in part on the competency and credibility of some persons other than the witness by whom it is sought to produce it. The testimony of a witness is regarded as hearsay when a witness testifies to the declarations of another for the purpose of proving the facts asserted by the other person. Hearsay evidence is normally excluded from a trial because it is deemed untrustworthy.
Although hearsay is generally not admissible in court, there are certain statements that are accepted as not being hearsay, and there are statements that are allowed into evidence as exceptions to the rule prohibiting hearsay. A statement is not hearsay if, the statement is offered against a party and is the party’s own statement, in either an individual or a representative capacity; or a statement of which the party has manifested an adoption or belief in its truth; or a statement by a person authorized by the party to make a statement concerning the subject; or a statement by the party’s agent or servant concerning a matter within the scope of the agency or employment, made during the existence of the relationship; or a statement by a co-conspirator of a party during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy, (Britz, p. 228).
Witnesses that are not able to attend the trial, the courts have allowed previous statements to be admissible during the trail and they are: former testimony, dying declarations, declarations against interest, and Statements of personal or family history. Former testimony of a witness is admissible when a demonstration of unavailability is successful. If the witness made a prior statement in a court setting as a grand jury or deposition, that statement can be used if the witness is unavailable. Dying declaration, which allows a dying...