Does An Individual Who Is Not on Trial Have the Constitutional Right to Appear Before a Grand Jury ?
In In re Hall County Grand Jury Proceedings, 175 Ga. App. 349, 352 (3) (333 S.E.2d 389) (1985), an accountant was called to appear as a witness before the grand jury.
To certain questions, he invoked the accountant-client privilege, which is analogous to the privilege between attorney and client.
The grand jury filed a motion to compel his testimony.
Former clients of the accountant intervened.
After conducting an in camera review of sealed affidavits summarizing other testimony heard by the grand jury, the trial court found that the testimony sought from the accountant was within the crime-fraud exception and granted the grand jury's motion.
On appeal, the former clients argued that their due process rights were violated because they were not apprised of the contents of the material considered by the superior court.
The Court disagreed, holding that "'the need to preserve the secrecy of an ongoing grand jury investigation is of paramount importance'" and that the "'cautious use of in camera proceedings is appropriate to resolve disputed issues of privilege.'" Hall County, supra at 352 (3).
This court also held that "an individual has no constitutional right 'to appear before the grand jury to . . . cross-examine witnesses.
The (individual is) not on trial at this stage of the proceedings, and therefore (such a) refusal does not deny him the right of confrontation. . . ." Id. at 351.