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ABSTRACT

Being able to render an effective cross-examination is a critical skill for nay trial lawyer as skillfully asked questions to an opponent’s witness into resources for strengthening one’s own case and undermine the opponent’s claims. While each lawyer develops his or her own method of cross examination, the goal remains to weaken an opponent’s case in favor of his own. Indeed, nothing secures a lawyer in court proceedings than his time in the witness-box under the brimstone of a trial lawyer’s cross-examination. However, the popular assertion seems to make a good number of people believe that the Nobel art is an instrument of legal intimidation and character assassination of witnesses who come to court to give testimonies. In this light, this research work is aimed at examining whether or not, the sky as the limit of cross-examination is a myth or reality. The reason for embarking on this research is to ascertain through legal proposition, the limits of cross-examination and subsequently put an end to the misconception that the sky is the limit of cross-examination. The research methodology employed in the work is doctrinal and the approach is analytical and descriptive. The researcher understudied the work with the aid of statues case law, journals, materials on the internet and textbooks relating to the topic under discus and subsequently found that the expression of the sky being the limit of cross-examination. The researcher consequently recommends that there is a need to educate and enlighten the masses to change their view about the Nobel art of cross-examination 

Background to the Study

It is trite law that a witness may give sworn evidence before the court in three main forms, examination in chief, cross examination, and re-examination. A requisition of re-examination from the re-examination from the bench usually comes with a “nil” from the bar; this is because most of the evidence is gotten from examination in chief and cross examination. Frontloading procedure (especially in the superior courts of record) has made examination in chief a mere formality particularly in civil matters where adoption of witness statement on oath is now the current practice[1].

This leaves us with cross examination, an art which reveals the worth and wit of a good trial lawyer and with which nature reflects and sustains the advocacy`s beauty of the law profession. The art of cross examination is made in the open court where lawyers produce brilliant questions from the blue without the aid of law texts or law reports. In an adversarial trial procedure like ours, cross examination is ultimately employed in locating a witness weak point and exploiting it to favor the cross examiner in the proceedings, showing that the evidence is unworthy of belief by reason of trials, interest or lack of honesty or knowledge of the events to which he testified. It is used in damaging material facts of the examination in chief so as to weaken the opponent’s case.



[1] The pointer newspaper.(available at https//the pointer newsonline.com/?p=19367) June 5, 2017.

 

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