As a victim of a crime, a witness to a crime, or a witness in a civil proceeding, you may be required to give evidence.
If so, you will be given a court notice called a subpoena. This is a notice advising you the date for the court hearing and which court to go to.
If you receive one of these notices, you must attend court. You cannot refuse to be a witness.
It is important that you do not discuss your evidence with other potential witnesses as this could affect the case.
Here are some tips for when you are in the witness box:
- consider each question;
- take your time to answer;
- Direct your answers to the Judge or Magistrate;
- speak clearly;
- if you don't understand the question, you can say so or ask for the question to be repeated;
- if you don't know the answer to a question, you can say so;
- only answer the question and don't go into unnecessary explanation;
- if you become distressed, you can ask for a break;
- remember to keep breathing and have a sip of water if needed.