Witnesses in a Foreign Country

Three Hung Juries

One of New Hampshire’s most convoluted murder cases is going forward. Back in 1988 the police charged Anthony Barnaby with stabbing two women to death. Prosecutors tried Barnaby three times in 1989 and 1990. Each of those trials, however, ended in a hung jury. This means at least one juror did not find Barnaby guilty. Back then, they dropped the charges instead of trying a fourth time. Barnaby returned to his home in Canada.

Prosecutors Want to Use Video Testimony

Twenty years later the authorities charged Barnaby again, this time along with another man. Before trial, prosecutors told the judge that there were eleven witnesses in Canada. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to force a witness in another country to travel here to testify. So, the prosecutors asked to conduct video depositions and later play the recordings for the jury.

The defense lawyers objected. They were probably hoping the judge would refuse the video testimony and then the witnesses would not come to trial. They also probably felt that witnesses are easier to prepare for and question live than over video.

The Supreme Court Allows It

The judge only agreed to allow video testimony of two of the witnesses. The judge said video could only be used if it was shown a witness would not come to trial. The New Hampshire Supreme Court, however, felt that this made it too hard. After all, it is very difficult to prove in advance that a witnesses will come to trial on their own. The Supreme Court held that it is enough to prove that a particular witness is in a foreign country.

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