How Children Testify in Court in Kenya

What happens when your child has to testify in court?

Your 10-year-old child has been called to give evidence in court. What should you expect?First, there are many instances where a child of tender age (below 10 years) may be called as a witness in court of law. And this could be in civil or criminal cases. The most frequent civil cases where children are called to testify are those relating to the custody of the children themselves.A court may call a child to shed light on issues raised by parents or guardians who are fighting over the custody and maintenance of the child. This is to enable the court make an informed decision.In criminal cases, a child will be called as a witness if he is a victim/complainant of a crime or where he has witnessed a crime being committed. There may be many other scenarios where the child is called to testify. Before giving evidence, the child will be required to take oath to tell the truth. But that may not always be the case. If the court is of the opinion that the child does not understand the nature of the oath, it may allow the child to testify without taking oath. The court must also satisfy itself that the child has the level of intelligence that makes him understand the duty to speak the truth.Should the child willfully give false evidence when he has not taken oath, he will be punished in the same way as if he had actually taken the oath to tell the truth.

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