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Obligations and Rights of a Witness

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  • Last updated:2019-01-03
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Obligations and Rights of a Witness

1.A witness is the third person who states the facts he or she observed in the past ot court or prosecutors' office. Because the true testimony is essential to the correctness of investigation and trial, all citizens have the obligations to bear witness.

2. The obligations of a witness include:

(1) Appearing is necessary. When a witness is summoned to the court or the prosecutors' office, he or she has the obligation to appear unless he or she has convincing reasons to be absent (such as being incapable to move due to severe illness’s natural disaster, disruption of the transportation system). In principle, he or she is not allowed to stand witness by designating another person or in writing (which is based on the principles of direct trial and verbal trial). If the witness fails to fulfill these obligations, he or she may be fined for an amount up to NT$30,000 and may be arrested to make an appearance and may also be fined in a row.

(2)Stating the fact is essential. A witness has the obligation to recount the facts he or she has seen or heard. The violator may be fined up to NT$30,000. Nevertheless, when the witness is a close relative or has a special status, incommoding him or her to give testimony, he or she may refuse to do so.

For instance, if the witness is the spouse or a relative of the defendant or if he or she should keep secret about another person due to occupation (such as a medical or law practitioner), he or she may refuse to give a testimony. As to whether a witness can refuse to give a testimony, it should be determined by the judge or the prosecutor rather than by the witness.

(3)To sign a bond to ensure that a witness tells the truth, the law stipulates that a witness shall sign a bond to guarantee the truth of statement. If a witness refuses to sign the bond without convincing reasons(such as person under 16 years of age or a mentally ill person who does not know the obligation and the effect of signing a bond), he or she may be fined for an amount up to NT$30,000. If a witness who has signed a bond willfully gives false testimony, he or she commits the crime of perjury which is possibly sentenced up to seven years imprisonment.

3. The rights of a witness:

A witness may claim conduct money, including the travel expenses for appearing at the office .But this does not apply to a witness who is arrested for failing to appear or who has refused to sign a bond or give a testimony without convincing reasons.


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