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Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962

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12(1)Witnesses shall be summoned and sworn in the same manner as nearly as circumstances admit as in an action tried [F1 in the High Court].N.I.

(2)On the trial a member of the election court may, by order under his hand, require any person who appears to him to have been concerned in the election to attend as a witness and any person refusing to obey the order shall be guilty of contempt of court.

(3)The election court may examine any person so required to attend or who is in court although he is not called and examined by any party to the petition.

(4)A witness may, after his examination by the court, be cross-examined by or on behalf of the petitioner and respondent, or either of them.

(5)[F2Except in respect of the trial of a local election petition,]F3 [F4 The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland] shall obey any direction given him by the election court with respect to the summoning of any witness to give evidence at the trial and his examination.

(6)[F4 The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland] shall without any direction from the court cause any person appearing to him to be able to give material evidence as to the subject of the trial to attend the trial and shall, with the leave of the court, examine him (or cause him to be examined) as a witness.

(7)Subject to sub-paragraph (9) a person called as a witness respecting an election before any election court shall not be excused from answering any question relating to any offence at or connected with the election, on the ground that the answer thereto may criminate or tend to criminate [F5 that person or the husband or wife of that person] or on the ground of privilege:

Provided that—

(a)a witness who answers truly all questions which he is required by the election court to answer[F2, other than a witness at a trial of a local election petition,] shall be entitled to receive a certificate of indemnity under the hand of a member of the court stating that the witness has so answered; and

(b)an answer by a person to a question put by or before any election court shall not, except in the case of any criminal proceeding for perjury in respect of the evidence, be in any proceeding, civil or criminal, admissible in evidence against [F5 that person or the husband or wife of that person].

(8)The giving or refusal to give a certificate of indemnity to a witness by an election court trying a local election petition shall be final and conclusive.

(9)A person who has voted at the election shall not, in any legal proceedings to question the election or return, be required to state for whom he voted.

(10)Where a person has received a certificate of indemnity in relation to an election, and any legal proceeding is at any time instituted against him for any corrupt or illegal practice committed by him previously to the date of the certificate at or in relation to the election, or any illegal payment, employment or hiring or offence under section eighty-six or under paragraph 28 or paragraph 32 of the Ninth Schedule so committed, the court having cognisance of the case shall on production of the certificate stay the proceeding, and may in their discretion award to the said person such costs as he may have been put to in the proceeding.

(11)Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to relieve a person receiving a certificate of indemnity from any incapacity under this Act or from any proceedings to enforce that incapacity (other than a criminal prosecution).

(12)The reasonable expenses incurred by any person in appearing to give evidence at the trial of an election petition, according to the scale allowed to witnesses on the trial of civil actions in the High Court, may be allowed to him by a certificate of the election court or of the prescribed officer, and if the witness was called and examined by virtue of sub-paragraph (2), shall be deemed part of the expenses of providing a court, but otherwise shall be deemed costs of the petition.

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F2SI 1987/168

F3continue to am. 2002 c. 26

F41972 NI 1

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