An offer of recompense given by authority of law for the
performance of some act for the public good; which, when the act has been
performed, is to be paid; or it is the recompense actually paid.
2. A reward may be offered by the government or by a private person. In
criminal prosecutions, a person may be a competent witness although he expects,
on conviction of the prisoner, to receive a reward. 1 Leach, 314, n 9 Barn.
& Cresw. 556;S. C. Eng. C. L. R. 441; 1 Leach, 134; 1 Hayw. Rep. 3 1 Root,
R. 249; Stark. Ev. pt. 4, p. 772, 3; Roscoe s Cr. Ev. 104; 1 Chit. Cr. Law,
881; Hawk. B. 2, c. 12, s. 21 to 38; 4 Bl. Com. 294; Burn s Just. Felony, iv.
See 6 Humph. 113.
3. By the common law, informers, who are entitled under penal statutes
to part of the penalty, are not in general competent witnesses. But when a
stat-ute can receive no execution, unless a party interested be a witness, then
it seems proper to admit him, for the statute must not be rendered ineffectual
for want of proof. Gilb. 114. In many acts of the legislature there is a
provision that the informer shall be a witness, notwithstanding the reward. 1
Phil. Ev. 92, 99.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition