When one party is killed by another, there are often no witnesses to the murder other than the killer and the victim who is now absent. In some circumstances, the victim has enough life left to utter some final words to an individual who happens to be in the vicinity of the crime. Usually these statements, known in legal terms as dying declarations, relate to the circumstances of the victim's death, including the identity of the perpetrator. If the crime is investigated by law enforcement authorities, the final words of the victim can be reported by the individual who received this last utterance. If the matter goes to trial, this report may be heard in a courtroom by judge and jury who will decide the fate of the accused, which may include loss of liberty or even death.
Recommended CitationLiang, B. A. and Liang, A. C., Lies on the Lips: Dying Declarations, Western Legal Bias, and Unreliability as Reported Speech, Law Text Culture, 5, 2000.