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SIR HARRY BODKIN POLAND, Q.C.,
Recorder of Dover.
Innocence claims the right of speaking [in the witness box], as guilt invokes
the privilege of silence.
THIS Edition of the CRIMINAL EVIDENCE ACT,
1898, has been prepared as it is thought that. a small book containing the Principal Act, and all the Enactments therein referred to, may be found convenient and handy to practitioners. A few notes to the Act itself have been added.
The general effect of the Act is that on the expiration of two months from the passing thereof, in all cases where a person is charged with a criminal offence, the defendant, and the defendant's wife or husband, will in ALL courts, inferior as well as superior, and whether tried by a jury or not, be competent witnesses for the defence on the application of the defendant, except that with regard to a person charged with neglecting to maintain or deserting his wife or any of his family under the Vagrancy Act, 1824, the wife; and, with regard to a person charged with an offence under s. 80 of the Poor Law (Scotland) Act, 1845, or under ss. 48 to 55 of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861, or under ss. 12 and 16 of the Married Women's Property Act, 1882, or under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, or under the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1894, the wife and husband of the defendant will be compellable witnesses, both for the prosecution and the defence.
The prosecution may not comment on the fact that the defendant has not gone into the witness box, or