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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 35 : Evidence

Paragraph 4 :

35-4. No witness afterwards to be examined, unless a member of the court, shall be present during the examination of another witness on the same case, if either party object.

[Historical Summary : The only change to have occurred here since 1973 is the substitution of "unless" in place of "except". Otherwise the current PCA text is that of the earlier key editions back to PCUS 1879 and even back to PCUSA 1858, with the only differences being punctuation. The opening clause of the sentence dates to PCUSA 1789.

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, 9-4, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 149
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 9-4, Proposed text, 49
3. PCUS 1933, IX, 230
4. PCUS 1925, IX, 230
No witness afterwards to be examined, except a member of the court, shall be present during the examination of another witness on the same case, if either party object.

PCUS 1879, IX-4
No witness afterwards to be examined except a member of the court, shall be present during the examination of another witness on the same case, if either party object.

PCUS 1869 draft, IX-4
and
PCUS 1867 draft, IX-4
No witness afterwards to be examined, except a member of the court, shall be present during the examination of another witness on the same case, unless by consent of parties.

PCUSA 1858, VII-6
No witness, afterward to be examined, except a member of the judicatory, shall be present during the examination of another witness on the same case, unless by content of parties.

PCUSA 1797, I-10

No witness, afterwards to be examined, shall be present during the examination of another witness, on the same case.

UPCNA 1867, 7-

OPC, 1988, IV.
Any

Other:
ARP, 1958, §V-

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 217), on IX-4 :
209.--IV. No witness afterwards to be examined except a member of the court, shall be present during the examination of another witness on the same case, if either party object.
Members of the court must remain in order to hear the evidence ; but there may be danger that the listening witness will suffer his testimony to be influenced by the testimony he hears. For this reason it may be advisable to take the testimony with all excluded but the court and the parties and the witness testifying, and to keep the testimony secret pending the trial.



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11
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14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]