COMPETENCE AND COMPELLABILITY: IS CHILD EVIDENCE ADMISSIBLE, A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON CHILD AND BASIC EDUCATION
Determination of lawsuits is highly dependent on these availability of evidence. In law, every person is a competent witness in any judicial proceeding unless otherwise prevented by the law. And every compellable witness is a competent witness as the court will not compel anyone to give evidence, if he is incompetent to do so. However, it is not every competent witness that is compellable in court. Competence does not imply ‘reliable,’ thus a witness may legally speaking not be able to give evidence for several reasons. For example, the witness may be a child who is too young that he/she cannot understand the questions put to him or give rational answers to them. Compellability on the other hands deals with the question whether as a matter of law, witnesses can be obliged to give evidence when they do not wish to do so but there are some circumstances in which competent witnesses cannot be obliged to give evidence against their will. This long essay therefore aims at analyzing the competency and compellability of a child to give evidence as a witness with respect to how it affects availability and admissibility of evidence. Chapter one of the long essay which is introductory explains the objectives, focus, extent and limitation of the study as well as the methodology employed in carrying out the research. Chapter two gives an insight as to the elements of the topic by explaining what Competency and Compellability of a witness imply. In chapter three the long essay considers who a child is in law and the conditions for the admissibility of his testimonies. While chapter four sheds light on issues relating to compellability of a child witness and the effect of compelling an incompetent child witness. Lastly, chapter five summarizes the findings of the research and made far reaching recommendations were offered as a forward It is strongly believed that if recommendations made herein are taken seriously and reflected in proposed amendment to the Act, the would go along way in improving the state of the law in that direction.