The Skills and Credibility of Botswana Mental Health Expert Witnesses: Opinions from the Botswana Legal Bench
Morekwe Selemogwe

The credibility of mental health expert witnesses is one of the topical issues within the legal community as a result of questionable ethical conduct of some mental health professionals. To address this issue, the current study examined criminal lawyers’, magistrates’ and judges’ opinions about the skills and the credibility of mental health expert witnesses. The study used a convenience sample of 35 participants. The majority of the respondents opined that mental health experts demonstrate their mental health expertise however the participants reported that expert witnesses lack knowledge of the legal criteria relevant to the evaluations that they conduct. Furthermore, the results suggest that the credibility of some expert witnesses is questioned by some members of the legal community. The findings of the current study underscore the need for formal forensic mental health training for expert witnesses and call for further research on forensic mental health practice in Botswana.

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