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The accused in a criminal case has the constitutional right to remain silent

In Victoria, the accused in a criminal case has the constitutional right to remain silent. However, he may opt to testify for himself as his own witness. His evidence will be assessed just like any other evidence presented during the trial. His name will be listed as one of the witnesses and whose evidence must be carefully scrutinized because of its importance in deciding the issues of the case.

When the accused is presented as a witness, the trial court judge has to direct and instruct the jury about the possibility that the accused as a witness has a motive to lie and must consider that possibility.

The judge may give directions to the jury because people may often attempt to lie to cover up their wrongful conduct. When the judge issued this direction, it odes not mean that the statement or testimony of the accused is being singled out.

When the accused chose to give evidence he will undertake to tell the truth and will be subjected to a rigid cross examination which is the way the lawyers test the credibility and truthfulness of the witness.

However, one must bear in mind that the onus of proof still rests with the prosecution who must prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. It is not for the accused testifying for himself to prove his innocence. The prosecution must prove all the elements of the crime. The rule does not simply changed because the accused opted to become a witness in his case.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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