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Criminal Procedure in Spain: Admissible and Inadmissible Questions

In the Spanish judicial system, it's essential to understand the distinctions between different types of questions that are considered inadmissible during a criminal proceeding. Let's delve into the definitions and relevant legal provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law:

Article 709

The President of the court is responsible for ensuring that questions posed to witnesses are not captious, suggestive, or irrelevant. This means that questions must not be deceptive or lead witnesses to predictable or induced responses.

The President may also intervene to prevent unnecessary questions about the private life of the victim, unless these questions are exceptionally relevant to assessing the facts or the credibility of the victim's statement. If inappropriate questions are posed, the President may prevent them from being answered.

Any decision made by the President in this regard can be subject to an appeal in the future, provided the appropriate protest is made during the proceeding.

Article 721

Article 721 allows for the preparation of a cassation appeal when a question is rejected for being captious, suggestive, or irrelevant, in accordance with the aforementioned regulations.

In summary, all these rules are in place to ensure that questions asked during a criminal proceeding are relevant, fair, and do not induce manipulated responses. Any captious, suggestive, or irrelevant questions can be challenged and appealed, thus contributing to a transparent and equitable judicial process.

Now, let's define these terms:

  1. Captious Question: A captious question is formulated in a misleading or tricky manner. It's designed to confuse the witness and may lead them to make mistakes or provide contradictory answers. The purpose of a captious question is to undermine the witness's credibility or divert attention from the central issue.

  2. Suggestive Question: A suggestive question is one that implies or elicits a specific or affirmative response. Instead of allowing the witness to provide their version of events impartially, the interrogator frames the question in such a way that the desired response appears to be the only logical choice. This can influence the objectivity of the testimony.

  3. Irrelevant Question: A question is considered irrelevant when it lacks relevance to the matter under consideration in the legal proceeding. In other words, it does not contribute to clarifying the facts or the legal issue in question. Irrelevant questions divert attention and can hinder the judicial process by introducing irrelevant information.

Compliance with these rules is crucial to maintaining the integrity and fairness of the legal process.

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