OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Witnesses are often called to testify, by both the defence and the Crown, in Ontario criminal proceedings such as trials and preliminary hearings. Lawyers, judges, and juries rely on witnesses for an understanding of the events that led to criminal charges.
Being called upon to testify can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time. You are probably wondering how to best provide your testimony.
There are a number of strategies you can use to deliver your testimony as a witness in criminal court. Here are the five most important ones:
- Answer truthfully. Do not lie or leave out details – in fact, doing so is a criminal offence and can result in charges. If you are uncertain of an answer, indicate that you are uncertain. The same applies if you do not recall the answer.
- Speak loudly and maintain eye contact. Your testimony will go over better if you are addressing the judge or jury directly. They’ll get the impression that you’re doing just that if you keep your eyes on them while talking, and speak in a clear tone loud enough for them to hear.
- Don’t continue if you are interrupted. Court reporters or lawyers present may ask you to stop speaking so that they can get caught up. At this point, you should stop speaking – remain silent until the reporter has caught up.
- Don’t let lawyers pressure you. Lawyers may use tactics to make you feel pressured – especially if they are cross-examining you. Ignore that pressure and be calm. Remember that you have the right to take time on each answer.
- Be courteous and respectful. Criminal trials and hearings are very serious events, and your behaviour and dress should reflect that. Dress conservatively, avoid wisecracks or jokes, and always use proper addressing (e.g. “Yes, sir,” and “Your Honour.”)
Follow these guidelines, and you’re sure to deliver an effective testimony. Remember that you are there to provide your best possible recollection of events and facts.
If you’ve been charged with an Ontario criminal defence and have doubts about witnesses in the case – either yours or the Crown’s – it’s important to get in touch with a top criminal defence lawyer who can go over the witnesses and other case information with you. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.