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when do witnesses find out if they'll be needed in court?

(6 Posts)
chaosagain Wed 02-Apr-14 18:43:15

This is in a criminal case and the plea hearing is coming up. Depending on the pleas (multiple charges), I'm assuming they will then set a date for the trial (military court martial but works like a crown court in this respect).

I've given several witness statements and some of my email exchanges with the defendant were gathered by the service prosecution authority. They don't know whether I'll need to go to court or not at the moment.

The idea of facing the defendant in court/being in court fills me with anxiety and dread. I haven't had contact with him in over a year. At what point am I likely to find out whether they will want me to come to court or not? How much notice are they likely to give me?

RedlipsAndSlippers Wed 02-Apr-14 21:50:38

I found out about a month before hand that I would be needed as a witness, and once I was there I was given the option of giving evidence behind a screen.
Luckily once the defendant realised all the witnesses had turned up he pled guilty and we weren't required to go in. Hope it's not too stressful for you.

chaosagain Wed 02-Apr-14 22:27:37

Thank you, that's helpful.

LineRunner Wed 02-Apr-14 22:32:13

I was a witness once and while I was waiting in the witness room I was told that the defence had agreed to accept my witness statement, the prosecution were happy with this, and I could go home.

It was the fact that I had turned up that put the defence on the back foot, really.

Prior to the court date I was given a few weeks' notice of it, but this was Magistrates'.

Can I just add that I hope you are ok and good luck.

trufflehunterthebadger Thu 03-Apr-14 01:11:53

Could be anything up to the day before but we certainly try to give our witnesses at least a month's notice.

Having said that. I warned someone this week for a trial next week and have just warned another batch of witnesses for a trial in october, so it's "piece of string" really

chaosagain Thu 03-Apr-14 11:56:58

Thanks again - helpful to know that there's no real set time or notice but that I'll probably get at least a few weeks notice. I guess it being the military system makes it more of an unknown. I have no idea of the likely gap between the plea hearing and the full trial either (assuming he pleads not guilty to some of the over 20 charges against him)..

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that he pleads guilty to the charges my statements relate to, so I can rule this possibility out.

And in the meantime it sounds like I'd be well advised to try and just put it out of my mind until much nearer the time.

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