If a witness spouse is divorced from the defendant or if the registered partnership ends before testifying, the former spouse/partner is competent and compelled to testify as if that person and the defendant had never been married or had never been partners. Search: “convincing witness” in Oxford reference » A witness who can legally be called to testify and who can be punished for contempt of court for refusal. In principle, any person capable of testifying is mandatory. In criminal proceedings, the spouse or partner of the accused is generally competent and obligatory as a defence witness. However, the spouse or partner of the accused is generally not required as a prosecution witness. See Jurisdiction. A witness is mandatory if he or she can legally be called to testify. Most competent witnesses may be compelled to testify. The only exception is for spouses and life partners who are only compelled to testify against their partner in certain circumstances, see spouses or life partners below.
All well-informed witnesses may be compelled by the court to testify. However, there is an exception for the defendant and his or her spouse or partner. These witnesses are only forced to testify against their partner in certain circumstances, as outlined below. There are a number of rare and abnormal cases of incapacity – for example, persons enjoying diplomatic immunity are not obligatory in any proceedings – but I do not intend to address them here. It is also important to decide whether a witness is mandatory and, if not, whether they will testify voluntarily. This may affect the decision on prosecution. There are no special rules regarding the compulsion of children and people with developmental disabilities, although there are of course rules about the competence of these witnesses, and a witness who is not competent is never convincing. Please note that there is no power to prevent marriage between a remand inmate and a prosecution witness, although this may make the spouse a non-binding witness for the prosecution in the ongoing proceedings (R (CPS) v Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages  Q.B. 1222, CA (Civ. Div.)). A witness who may be compelled to testify against an accused (not all witnesses are convincing).
Spouses or partners are entitled and required to testify on behalf of the defendant or the defendant`s co-defendant. Convincing witness In the law of evidence, a person is “persuasive” if he or she can be called to testify in a court proceeding, even if he or she does not want to. The issue of coercion does not arise when a person is willing to testify, but that person must still be a competent witness for the party he or she wishes to call. From: Convincing Witness in a Law Dictionary » The spouses or partners of a person accused in the proceeding are generally qualified to testify in support of the prosecution. The only exception is if the spouse or partner is charged jointly. If this is the case, neither of them is entitled or obliged to testify in favour of the charge against the other, unless the spouse or witness of the partner has already pleaded guilty or the proceedings against the spouse or the partner`s witnesses have been dropped. However, jurisdictional issues may arise only after the witness has begun or during cross-examination. This may apply in particular to child witnesses whose examination-in-chief was given during a pre-recorded video interview pursuant to section 27 of the YCJA 1999, where the minor witness may subsequently not be able to provide intelligible answers during cross-examination. Support from victim assistance, police and other authorities can be very important for witnesses in these circumstances. Prosecutors should keep in mind that a witness`s refusal to appear in court can be provoked by fear.