The entire testimony of people who deliberately lie under oath should not automatically be rejected. Instead, it is up to the jury to decide what aspects of that testimony they will regard as truthful.
That was the ruling in what is being considered a landmark decision handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) yesterday in the first case it dealt with during the court’s itinerant hearing in Barbados.
The ruling has essentially erased the years-long legal adage, usually upheld by judicial officers, that once a person lied in one aspect of their testimony, their entire story could not be believed.
In that case, James Field versus the State, the CCJ, Barbados’ highest court, dismissed the appeal of Field who was convicted of manslaughter, but also ruled on the question of how to treat with a witness whom the jury considered may be deliberately lying on oath. (MB)