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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 35 : Evidence

Paragraph 14 :

35-14. If, in the prosecution of an appeal, new evidence be offered which, in the judgment of the appellate court, has an important bearing on the case, it shall be competent for that court to refer the case to the lower court for a new trial; or, with the consent of parties, to admit the evidence and proceed with the case.

[Historical Summary : 1996 [M24GA, 24-13, Item 2, p. 59] The current PCA text remains unchanged from key editions back to PCUS 1925. Earlier editions differ primarily in punction and few word changes,while the sense remains the same.]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, 9-14, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 150
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 9-14, Proposed text, p. 50
3. PCUS 1933, IX, §240
4. PCUS 1925, IX, §240

If in the prosecution of an appeal, new testimony be offered, which, in the judgment of the appellate court, has an important bearing on the case, it shall be competent for that court to refer the case to the lower court for a new trial; or, with the consent of parties, to take the testimony and proceed with the case.

PCUS 1879, IX-14

If, in the prosecution of an appeal, new testimony be offered, which, in the judgment of the appellate court, has an important bearing on the case, it shall be competent for that court to refer the cause to the inferior court for a new trial; or, with the consent of parties, to take the testimony and proceed with the cause.

PCUS 1869 draft, IX-15
If in the prosecution of an appeal, new testimony is offered, which, in the judgment of an appellate court, has an important bearing on the case, it shall be competent for the court to refer the cause to the inferior court for a new trial; or, with the consent of parties, to take the testimony and issue the case.

PCUS 1867 draft, IX-15
If in the prosecution of an appeal, new testimony is offered, which in the judgment of the appellate court has an important bearing on the case, it shall be competent for the court to refer the cause to the inferior court for a new trial; or, with the consent of parties, to take the testimony and issue the case.

Northern Tradition :
PCUSA, 1859 draft, VII-17
If, in the prosecution of an appeal, new testimony is offered, which in the judgment of the appellate court, has an important bearing on the case, it shall be competent in the court to refer the cause to the inferior judicatory for a new trial; or, with the consent of parties, to take the testimony and issue the case.

UPCNA 1867, 7-

OPC, 1988-2005, IV.B.9
If new evidence is produced by the accused after he has been found guilty, the trial judicatory shall examine such evidence. If it is satisfied that there was good reason for not producing it at the trial, it shall grant a new trial, or, in case an appeal has been lodged, it shall certify these facts to the appellate judicatory and the record of the case shall then be returned to the trial judicatory for the purpose of a new trial.

Other:
ARP, 1958, §V-

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, pp. 220-221), on XI-14:

219.--XIV. If, in the prosecution of an appeal, new testimony be offered, which, in the judgment of the appellate court, has an important bearing on the case, it shall be competent for that court to refer the cause to the inferior court for a new trial; or, with the consent of parties, to take the testimony and proceed with the cause.
In case a new trial is ordered, the recorded evidence taken in the first trial is valid evidence, if the new trial is ordered simply that new evidence may be taken and considered. If the new evidence is available before the reviewing court, it would save time for that court to take the new evidence and render decision and sentence as if the court of first resort ; but this cannot be done if either party objects. At the same time this court has discretion to decide the case without sending it back for a new trial or taking the new evidence either ; for without such discretion it would be possible to delay a final decision indefinitely.



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