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What happens when you're a witness in court?

(9 Posts)
Bearfrills Sat 18-Nov-17 12:39:41

I've got to give evidence in court as a witness for the prosecution.

The person being prosecuted is not allowed to contact me but has been emailing a mutual party saying that their solicitor is busy digging up dirt on me and that it'll all come out in court. There is no dirt on me, I'm not that interesting, but now I'm scared that the defence solicitor is going to be dragging out things from my past to try and is going to be really nasty to me. I had some debts as a student nearly 20 years ago but they were paid and it's the only dirt I can think of. I'm weirdly ashamed, like I've done something wrong, and so anxious that I'm going to be 'found out' even though I've done nothing wrong (which ironically is how this person made me feel when I was growing up).

He's also saying to this mutual party that my statement conflicts that of the other witness and that his solicitor is going to rip me to shreds (his words).

Is this what will happen in court? I'm not sure I want to be a witness if it is sad

Nicknacky Sun 19-Nov-17 03:48:47

There is nothing about you past that can be brought up, it has nothing to do with the case. No lawyer is going to do this.

He obviously knows if he says stupid things like that then it will get back to you which understandably has worried you.

Battleax Sun 19-Nov-17 04:11:39

You have to report this contact to the police, if you think it was meant to teach you. It's a form of witness intimidation or interference with a trial or whatever. Do you have a liaison officer?

Nobody will care about debts two decades ago and all you have to do is stay calm and answer questions honestly. Don't worry about which barrister it is or what the wider case is.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 19-Nov-17 05:13:37

The third party and the defendant had better watch themselves because what they are doing is really dodgy. Talk to the police/lawyer about this.

Battleax Sun 19-Nov-17 05:14:32

Sorry. "Reach you" not teach you.

namechange2222 Sun 19-Nov-17 05:20:36

I was a witness in crown court, a case against two men. The questions asked by the defence were all relevant, polite and respectful. I was a little taken back when a defense lawyer said 'I suggest that....' and suggested something completely different to what I'd just said had happened. In retrospect I wish I'd been warned this is just court speak as it left me a little confused. I'd really had no experience prior to this. All in all it wasn't a painful experience except for the hanging about for days. I can assure you that nothing about me or my character was discussed.

Bearfrills Sun 19-Nov-17 11:26:02

Thanks everyone. I've called the police to report the contact via a third party and they're sending someone out.

Have gone outside today and our car has "coincidentally" had it's exhaust pipe filled with expanding foam angry no other cars on the street have been vandalised though. Police are coming out for that too.

coastalchick Sun 19-Nov-17 11:34:14

so sorry you are going through this. Sounds like intimidation to me and the car incident also suggests that. The police will likely tell his solicitor who will tell person to stop it as it will damage their defence.

I wouldn't worry - the solicitor will be wary of doing anything to attack your character - not only won't the court like it, but if they start trying to introduce evidence of bad character then it opens their client up to having bad character evidence introduced about them (which you normally can't do otherwise).

I think they are just trying to intimidate you into not giving evidence. Try not to let them win. x

VelvetKK Sun 26-Nov-17 00:02:32

Do not let their intimidation tactics work. The only reason a defence lawyer would "dig up dirt" is to discredit you as a witness such as previous fraud charges or something to that effect.

The lawyer will no doubt suggest you're lying, embellishing or have a vendetta against his poor client. Maybe even suggest with it being so long ago your memory has faded so can't be sure.

Be truthful at all times and he can't trip you up. If you're sure of your statement, don't let them try to get you to backtrack or minimise your certainty. You'll be fine though, honesty is on your side!!

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