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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 35 : Evidence

Paragraph 5 :

35-5. Witnesses shall be examined first by the party introducing them; then cross-examined by the opposite party; after which any member of the court, or either party, may put additional interrogatories. No question shall be put or answered except by permission of the moderator, subject to an appeal to the court. The court shall not permit questions frivolous or irrelevant to the charge at issue.

[Historical Summary : The wording and arrangement of the current PCA text dates to ______. Prior PCA editions had only two sentences and the second sentence began with the word "But". Older editions also capitalized the word "Moderator". Otherwise this paragraph remains in substance that of the PCUSA 1858 draft issued by the revision committee chaired by James H. Thornwell, working together with Charles Hodge and others.]

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 9-5, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 149
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 9-5, Proposed text, p. 49
Witnesses shall be examined first by the party introducing them; then cross-examined by the opposite party; after which any member of the court, or either party, may put additional interrogatories. But no question shall be put or answered except by permission of the Moderator, subject to an appeal to the court; and the court shall not permit questions frivolous or irrelevant to the charge at issue.

PCUS 1879, IX-5

Witnesses shall be examined, first by the party introducing them; then cross-examined by the opposite party; after which any member of the court, or either party, may put additional interrogatories. But no question shall be put or answered, except by permission of the Moderator, subject to an appeal to the court; and the court shall not permit questions frivolous or irrelevant to the charge at issue.

PCUS 1869 draft, IX-5
To prevent confusion, witnesses shall be examined, first by the party introducing them; then cross-examined by the opposite party; after which any member of the court, or either party, may put additional interrogatories. But no question shall be put or answered, except by permission of the Moderator, subject to an appeal to the court; and the court shall not permit questions frivolous or irrelevant to the charge at issue.

PCUS 1867 draft, IX-5
To prevent confusion, witnesses shall be examined, first by the party introducing them; then cross-examined by the opposite party; after which any member of the court, or either party, may put additional interrogatories. But no question shall be put or answered, except by permission of the moderator, subject to an appeal to the court; and the court shall not permit questions frivolous or irrelevant to the charge at issue.

Northern Tradition :
PCUSA, 1859 draft, VII-7
To prevent confusion, witnesses shall be examined first by the party introducing them; then cross-examined by the opposite party; after which any member of the judicatory, or either party, may put additional interrogatories. But no question shall be put or answered, except by permission of the Moderator; and the court shall not permit frivolous questions, or questions irrelevant to the charge at issue.

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-5 :
210.--V. Witnesses shall be examined, first by the party introducing them; then cross-examined by the opposite party; after which any member of the court, or either party, may put additional interrogatories. But no question shall be put or answered, except by permission of the Moderator, subject to an appeal to the court; and the court shall not permit questions frivolous or irrelevant to the charge at issue.
Here an appeal is allowed directly from the Moderator of the Session to the Session, otherwise the trial might be made inextricably complicated.

JUDICIAL:
Points touching BCO 35-5 appear in the complaint of TE Eric Dye, et al., vs. Missouri Presbytery, M14GA (1986), 14-89, p. 212 [or PCA Digest, Judicial Case #56, pp. 354-360]



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