Does the accuser have to take the stand in trial with the accused

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does the accuser have to take the stand in trial with the accused

If someone is accused of rape does the
accuser have to take the stand in trial

Asked on September 29, 2016 under Criminal Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In most cases, yes: rape is nonconsensual sexual contact, so the accuser would generally have to testify it was nonconsenual. There are exceptions, though:
1) If there were other witnesses to the attack, who can testify it was clearly an attack or nonconsensual.
2) If there is strong forensic evidence (e.g. a pattern of abrasions or bruising) which effectively establishes the use of force and that it was nonconsensual.
3) If another attacker or accomplice in a group attack testifies it was nonconsensual.
4) If the accused had confessed to the crime.
5) Etc.
So normally, the accuser takes the stand to prove the prosecutor's case, but there are times that it could be proven without her or him. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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