Later this year I am due to stand as a witness in a criminal court.
For obvious legal concerns no details will be published here but it is in a case which involved inhumane violence and fear for the victim.
In my opinion the defendant is either filled with hatred and a lack of any humane feelings, or suffering from a dangerous mental health issue. As such
I want nothing to damage the credibility of my testimony as a witness, due to the genuine fears I have for the victim in a not-guilty situation.
I have been considering all possible aspects of the trial process, from cross-examination to the initial oath.
I am drawn to placing my hand on the bible instead of making a non religious affirmation to tell the truth. This would be a tactical move no less
important than choosing to wear a suit and tie and appearing clean-shaven. Judgements are often made about much more than the words we speak, and if
there is anything I can do to support an opinion of me as a credible witness then I shall make that effort.
If I choose to make the openly non-religious affirmation to tell the truth there is a chance that the Magistrates could have strong faith and as such
be negatively influenced in their initial view of me.
If I choose to place my hand on the bible and take the oath there is a chance that the Magistrates with faith will be positively influenced.
If there are any atheist Magistrates on the bench my opinion is that they would either dismiss the whole spiritual oath thing as irrelevant silly
nonsense, or be unimpressed by a stated affirmation to tell the truth because, let's face it, who has ever not declared that they would tell the truth
prior to giving evidence?!
Now, for the conspiracy slant:
You are formally asked by the court usher if you wish to take the oath or affirm, this is in open court and publically recorded.
Lord Justice Auld
It is a strange quirk of our justice system that we require a witness to make a public declaration of their religion, or lack thereof, before giving
evidence. Surely we could better judge a witness if we knew how they voted? Their sexuality?
I absolutely agree with this observation.
One need only look at the passions aroused on the ATS boards where the judgement of others is influenced by their knowledge of anothers religious
beliefs, or lack thereof.
It would be a solely tactical decision to choose the religious oath at the trial, in order to avoid any risk of negative judgements being made about
my character by possibly religious magistrates. I would do this solely for the benefit of the victim in this case, in the hope of a successful
prosecution and custodial period.
Am I selling myself out on public record? Yes, it feels and appears that way.
Is it right that a situation exists where I am forced to reveal spiritual beliefs, or lack therof, prior to giving evidence in a criminal court case?
No, I think not.
This thread is not about "God exists" or "God does not exist" it is as clearly stated above with the conspiracy slant regarding witnesses being forced
to make the choice in open court on public record.
I look forward to hearing different opinions if anyone is interested but please let's not get into 'you are wrong to hold the Bible' etc, we'll get
nowhere as it is a faith based position that the book has special status during a declaration of truth. In any case, my focus is on the forced choice
to declare religious beliefs, or lack thereof, when everyone could just instead promise to honestly tell the truth.
edit on 8-1-2013 by grainofsand because: typo