What is the difference between Expert Witness and Ordinary Witness?
There are three major differences between an expert witness and an ordinary witness. They are as follows.
1. An expert witness gives evidence of his opinion.
An ordinary witness is a witness of fact and gives evidence of those facts which are under inquiry.
2. The expert witness supports his evidence by the experiments which have been performed by him in the absence of the opposite party.
The ordinary witness is available to the opposite party for veracity (truthfulness, accuracy, correctness, faithfulness, fidelity; reputability, honesty, sincerity, trustworthiness, reliability, dependability) (refer section 146)
3. The expert gives the rules and reasons which support his opinion.
If a medical expert gives an opinion on symptoms or after-effects of a particular poison, then he may also refer the book in support to his opinion, based on which he has opined (suggest, comment, remark, declare).
The ordinary witness gives evidence of what he has perceived by his senses.
The significant difference between these two types of witnesses is personal knowledge. An expert may use their knowledge or skill to draw conclusions, whereas ordinary witness can base their opinion only on what they observed.
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The Examination of Witness – Chapter X, Evidence Act