Rebuttal evidence is generally defined as evidence given to explain, repel, counteract or disprove testimony or facts introduced by the adverse party.6 A party is entitled to offer rebuttal evidence after the opposing party has rested its case.6.1 The trial judge has discretion to control the nature and scope of rebuttal testimony.7 Such evidence should be limited to evidence that denies or contradicts the opposing evidence at which it is directed. The fact that a rebuttal witness gives testimony in reply to the other side’s case which incidentally tends to corroborate the case in chief does not render such testimony improper.8
6. State v. Curran, Cr. A. No. 81-08-0500A, slip op. at 6, Stiftel, J. (Del. Super. July 8, 1982).
6.1. See Herhal v. State, 283 A.2d 482, 485 (Del. 1971) (“it is entirely proper for the affirmative side to give evidence in rebuttal in reply to the evidence of the other side of the case”).
7. Forrest v. State, 721 A.2d 1271, 1281 (Del. 1999); Verdijo v. State, No. 254, 1989, slip op. at 7, Holland, J. (Del. June 29, 1990) (ORDER), disposition reported at 578 A.2d 1097 (Del. 1990) (TABLE).
8. Herhal v. State, 283 A.2d 482, 485 (Del. 1971); Gaston v. State, 234 A.2d 324, 325 (Del. 1967); Roberts v. State, 79 A. 396, 397 (Del. 1911).
© 2010 David L. Finger