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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

18                                              MEBICAL JURISPRUDENCE

KINDS OF WITNESSES

Witnesses are of two kinds 4 common and expert.^

A common witness is one who testifies to the facts observed by himself, i
An expert witness14 is one who, on account of his professional training, '
is capable of deducing opinions and inferences from the facts observed by
himself or noticed by others.   Thus, it is apparent that a medical witness is
both common and expert.   He is a common witness when he gives evidence
as regards the variety, size and position of injuries, and is an expert witness
when he mentions the nature of these injuries as to whether they were [
caused during life or after death, whether they were accidental, suicidal or *
homicidal and so on.                                                                                        \

RULES FOR GIVING EVIDENCE _

The medical practitioner, when summoned to court as an expert witness,
must remember that he is there to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing
but the truth, and should, therefore, give his evidence irrespective as to
whether it was likely to lead to conviction or acquittal of the accused.           ;

He should sge^k^slowly, distinctly^ and audiKLyLjfcCL enable the Judge and
Counsel^ tojbear;Jhimv.and.to-take notes' of his evidence/"

He should use plain and simple language avoiding all technicalities, as
the' bench and the bar are not expected to be familiar with medical terms.
For instance, he should use " bruise ", " bone of the arm ", " shoulder blade %
"collar bone", "gullet", "windpipe", "lining membrane of the stomach",,
"bleeding",  "covering" of the heart",  etc. for  " contusion %^afennto^",<
" scapula ",     " clavicle ",     " oesophagus ",     " trachea ",     " gastric s M£mcotis*
membrane ", " haemorrhage "3 " pericardium.", etc.   It is no use showing his
erudition by using these terms ; however, if he cannot help using any medical
term he should try to explain it in ordinary language as far as that is possible.^

- He should avoid long discussions, especially theoretical arguments. His-
Answers shouIcTT>erT>rief and precise, and in the form of " yes" or "no***•
However, by so doing, if he finds that his meaning is not understood he, car^
explain his answer after obtaining permission from the Judge.

»3~    If JigLdoesxiot know or remember any particular point, he should not be,
"ashamed to say so, and must not hazard a guess in .a doubtful case.

He should remember that the lawyer has practically unlimited licence and!

latitude in putting questions to the witness in cross-examination, ancLconse-

§ quentlyiie shmil3lcieyer lose lusTemper, but should appear cool and dignified,

^evenTHougE quesHohs 6Fan"ifritable nature be put to him.   I may, however,

mention that as a medical jurist of twenty-eight years' experience I -have*

had no complaint against lawyers.   They have great regard for me, and have'

shown the greatest amount of courtesy to me at the time of my deposition;

in Court.                                                                                                        !,

The medical witness may refresh his memory from his own report alread$|
forwarded to the court, but should not do so from his private notes, unles^
theyjagr eed word _for. ;wQ,rdjyvith the original, were made at the time of, o£
immediately after, the occurrence of the event, and were written by him o£
cefSKeoTto be correct if written by his assistant; besides, he should be pre|
pareduto.have^them gsut in as exhibits if desired by the Judge or counsel
to do so.         "                                                                                              ^

He should not quote the opinion.-ofBother, medical -men-or

^                                __He ib supposed to express,an

jknawledge and expedience,   -T-—

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Vide Appendix II, section 45, Indian Evidence Act.