An expert witness is someone who is asked to assist in the proceedings when specialised technical, scientific or artistic knowledge is necessary to understand the facts or weigh up the evidence.

For example, you may need to ask a doctor to explain the injuries suffered by the victim and how they were caused, or a psychologist or psychiatrist to describe the psychological characteristics of the defendant in order to conduct a personality assessment, or a computer engineer to show how a software program was used to commit the crime. In these cases, the doctor, psychologist, or computer engineer uses their technical and scientific knowledge to better understand what happened.

The assistance of expert witnesses shall be requested by the judge or the prosecution, either on their own initiative or at the request of one of the parties to the proceedings, and they shall be remunerated.

The expert witnesses first carry out the necessary tests and then write a report with their conclusions on what they have examined and evaluated. If an expert is called to appear at the trial, he or she will testify and answer questions about the examinations carried out and the conclusions drawn from them.

According to Article 185 of the Code of Criminal Procedure:
The First Instance Judicial Council shall, on a proposal from the Public Prosecutor of First Instance Courts, draw up, within the third ten-day period in September each year, a list of experts by specialty from persons residing at its seat who are qualified to give an expert opinion, giving preference to civil servants. The list includes child psychiatrists and child psychologists and, in their absence, psychiatrists and psychologists specializing in child sexual exploitation and abuse. The list is submitted to the Public Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal, who has the right, in October, to ask the Council of Appeal Court Judges to revise it. The Council of Appeal Court Judges rules on this in November. Once finalized, the list is posted in the hearing room of the Court of Misdemeanors and announced in December of each year by the public prosecutor of first instance courts to the district investigating officers. Each year, until a new list is drawn up, the list drawn up in the previous year shall apply.

Similarly, in accordance with Article 204 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, para. 1.:
When an ordinary investigation or summary investigation or preliminary inquiry is conducted, the person who orders an expert examination shall at the same time notify the defendant or the suspect or the person supporting the accusation, in accordance with Article 192, of the appointment of the expert witnesses, the time and place of the expert testimony and of its subject matter. When an expert report is conducted by the laboratories referred to in Article 184, the persons referred to above, in accordance with Article 192, shall be notified of its assignment. Within a reasonable time limit set by the appointing authority, they may appoint, at their own expense, a technical consultant chosen from among those qualified to be appointed, in accordance with the law, as experts in the particular case. The persons who made the appointment must notify in writing the person who ordered the expert opinion of the appointment of the technical advisor. The conduct of the expert’s report shall not be impeded by failure to exercise this right within the time limit.


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