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The Importance of Article 714 of the Spanish Criminal Procedural Law (the so called LECRIM)

Article 714 of the Criminal Procedure Law is of great importance in Spanish Criminal Law since it determines that when the statement of the witness in the oral trial is not substantially in accordance with that given in the previous phases of the procedure it may be requested to be read by any of the parties.

Therefore, this article establishes how the person who questions a prosecution witness who is being questioned in the oral trial by the defense should proceed, when she/he does it with contradictions with respect to what she/he declared at the investigative phase of the case.

The judge or court may ask for the specific paragraph of the statement to be read where the contradiction with what she/he is declaring in is stated so that the witness explains such difference, therefore proceeding in accordance with the provisions of article 714 LECrim. In practice, the witness's contradiction with what was previously stated is also directly revealed to ask her/him about the divergence.

We must also take this article into account when, on the other hand, contradictions are sought in the statements of our defendants, trying to set traps for them to emerge with questions as generic as "... well, in the police station or during the investigation, you did declare something else" or " you are contradicting what you told the police or the investigating judge.”

In those cases, article 714 also helps us to be able to request (and we have to let our defendant know) that they tell us at the court exactly where the contradiction is, that is, on which sheet of the proceedings, so we can request that the court read it directly that which is supposed to be the object of contradiction so that the declarant can explain himself about it, avoiding confusion.

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