Most parents will agree that small children have an uncanny ability of being in strange places at unexpected moments. Children are often in the right place at the right time to see people, things and events that are never witnessed by adults. As we know from experience, they often overhear things that adults have felt were said in confidence or were said because they felt there were no witnesses. While this faculty is often a mere source of annoyance to the adult members of the family, it may have considerable impact upon the outcome of some legal action. Unfortunately, the child's tendency to wander also places him in out-of-the-way places where he may have crimes committed against his person. As a result, the child may be the only witness available to the state in prosecuting a crime. The prosecuting attorney will then be faced with the difficult task of establishing that child's competency as a witness. For all practical purposes, it will be necessary to determine whether his testimony will enhance or stay the cause of justice.
Charles F. Stafford,
The Child as a Witness,
37 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol37/iss3/1