Petitioner was charged with malicious mischief. He deposited a cash bond for his provisional liberty. Upon arraignment, he entered a plea of not guilty and thereafter filed a written waiver of appearance during the trial or at any stage thereof. Petitioner failed to appear at a hearing where the principal witness was recalled to identify him. The trial court ordered him arrested and his cash bond confiscated.
Whether or not petitioner can be compelled to be present during the trial for purposes of his identification by prosecution witnesses.
YES. Trial in absentia of the accused in case of his non-appearance after arraignment despite due notice simply means that he waives his right to meet the witnesses face to face. An express waiver of appearance after arraignment is of the same effect. However, such waiver of appearance and trial in absentia does not mean that the prosecution is deprived of its right to require the presence of the accused for purposes of identification by its witnesses which is vital for the conviction of the accused. Such waiver of the right of the accused does not mean a release of the accused from his obligation under the bond to appear in court whenever so required. The accused may waive his right but not his duty or obligation to the court.
Petition is DENIED.