.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 35 : Evidence

Paragraph 3 :

35-3. The testimony of more than one witness shall be necessary in order to establish any charge; yet if, in addition to the testimony of one witness, corroborative evidence be produced, the offense may be considered to be proved.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text is unchanged in all key editions back to PCUS 1879.]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, 9-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 149
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 9-3, Proposed text, p. 48
3. PCUS 1933, IX, § 229
4. PCUS 1925, IX, § 229
5. PCUS 1879, IX-3

The testimony of more than one witness shall be necessary in order to establish any charge; yet if, in addition to the testimony of one witness, corroborative evidence be produced, the offence may be considered to be proved.

PCUS 1869 draft, IX-3
and
PCUS 1867 draft, IX-3

The testimony of more than one witness is necessary, in order to establish any charge; yet if circumstantial evidence conclusive of
the same general charge be produced, or if several credible witnesses bear testimony to different similar acts, the offence shall be considered to be proved.

PCUSA, 1859 draft, VII-
The testimony of more than one witness is necessary in order to establish any charge; yet if several credible witnesses bear testimony to different similar acts, or to confirmatory circumstances, belonging to the same general charge, the crime shall be considered as proved.

UPCNA 1867, 7-

OPC, 1988, IV.
Any

Other:
ARP, 1958, §V-

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 216-217), on IX-3 :
208.--III. The testimony of more than one witness shall be necessary in order to establish any charge; yet if, in addition to the testimony of one witness, corroborative evidence be produced, the offence may be considered to be proved.
It may be so considered, not must be ; for the court, judging of the credibility of evidence (206), might not believe a witness or a number of witnesses. The testimony of more than one witness, or of one witness and corroborative evidence, is necessary to prove each charge, each separate fact alleged, in the indictment. This rule setting the denial of the accused in counterpoise with the assertion of any single witness, and so protecting innocence, may also shield guilt, and even known guilt, from judicial conviction ; and this limitation should be remembered before judicial prosecution is begun.



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