Are witnesses evidence? and if so, cant a person just bribe/pay a person to be a witness so he can win a case?

In some countries especially Islamic countries they are counted as evidence as they swear that it is true

2 Answers 2


A witness is not evidence, but what a witness says (their testimony) may be evidence. Or, the body of a person who happened to be a witness is evidence. I suspect that there is a translation problem. It is always physically possible to try pay a person to lie and AFAIK never legal: the person who lies and the person who induces the lie will be punished by law. The witness who testifies will have to swear that their testimony is the truth.

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    Maybe, maybe not. Depends on whether they are believable. Depends on whether your son is dead. It's about the totality of evidence and proving specific elements – e.g. was the killing self-defense.
    – user6726
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:19
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    It's pretty well known that perjury and bias are possible in testimony, and nothing I said implies that punishments for crimes infallibly prevent the commission of crimes.
    – user6726
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:36
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    @Acccumulation: Expert Witnesses are "witnesses who may testify to their opinion" within their realm of expertise. Generally, the facts they use are in evidence and accepted by both sides in pre-trial... The expert is testifying to what they believe is being shown in the evidence. They could be wrong in that opinion, but it's also harder to prove they were maliciously lying.
    – hszmv
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 19:03
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    @Acccumulation: Jail House snitches lie all the time and often, their lies have put away innocent people who had the misfortune of sharing a cell with them. It's not out of character for an informant to a famous case having a hand in the wrongful prosecution of an innocent person and the incentive of better treatment can be a powerful motivator to tell the lie about the person that the prosecution wants to hear.
    – hszmv
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 19:11
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    @AhmedTaha Many people colloquially say that if all you have to support your case is your own sworn testimony that you have "no evidence" but this simply false. People routinely win lawsuits and criminals are routinely convicted of crimes based upon one person's sworn testimony alone. Unlike Islamic law which has specific rules for evaluating credibility in certain situations, in U.S. law judges and juries have wide discretion to decide who is telling the truth and whose testimony if inaccurate or a lie (many false statements made in courts are honest mistakes by a witness rather than lies).
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 0:46

Are witnesses evidence?

No, witnesses testify and what they testify is evidence.

In common law jurisdictions, all evidence is either admitted because:

  • the parties agree to its admittance, that is, the evidence is not disputed, or

  • a witness testifies to it. This is how physical evidence is introduced e.g. the police officer testifies that this is the gun he found at the scene.

The trier of fact (judge or jury) decides how much weight to give to each piece of evidence - if two witnesses disagree then the trier of fact has to decide which testimony to accept (or to reject both witnesses).

cant [sic] a person just bribe/pay a person to be a witness so he can win a case?

Sure. And people can rob banks and murder each other and commit fraud. These are all things people can do. Most people don't do them because they are a) illegal and b) wrong.

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    Also, in all U.S. jurisdictions, witness testimony is only evidence if it is under oath or affirmation (an oath is a promise to tell the truth that some people believe has a religious connotation, an affirmation is the secular equivalent and is still made under penalty of perjury). A document supported by an oath administered outside of court by a notary is called an "affidavit" (only only sometimes admissible in U.S. courts). A document supported by an affirmation outside the presence of a public official is called a "declaration" and is allowed in lieu of an affidavit in some jurisdictions.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 0:38

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