Appearing in Court as a Witness
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As a victim of crime, you do not have any official responsibilities during court appearances unless you are testifying. Your victim service worker or Crown counsel will do their best to inform you about details of court proceedings and to answer any of your questions. If you are not providing witness testimony, you may choose to watch some or all of the trial.
Several court appearances, called pre-trial appearances or interim hearings, may occur before the accused goes to trial. If the accused states (pleads) that they are guilty of committing the crime, the case will not need to proceed to trial and they may be given a sentence. Visit Court Appearances Before the Trial for more information.
Testifying in Court
Testifying in court can be stressful and scary. But it does not have to be. By preparing for court, you will better understand your responsibilities and what you can expect to take place during the trial. Visit Testifying in Court for more information.
For more information, including tips about how to prepare for court, visit Preparing for Court.
Testimonial accommodations are special steps taken to support victims or witnesses during their testimony in court. Except in special circumstances, a witness will be expected to give their evidence with the accused present in the courtroom. However, if the witness is a child, vulnerable or traumatized as a result of the crime or physically or mentally disabled, Crown counsel may request a testimonial accommodation. For example, the witness may be allowed to testify from behind a screen.
Court Support for Victims
If you are a victim of crime, resources are available to support you while you are in court. A victim service worker can help you understand what is happening during the court proceedings and provide you with support throughout the court process. They will let you know what to expect and can also attend court with you. You can contact a victim service worker by calling VictimLinkBC.
Arriving at the Courthouse
You may be attending court to watch or you may have been requested to testify as a witness.
If you have been requested to testify as a witness by Crown counsel, on the day of the trial, please go to the Crown counsel reception desk with your letter requesting that you attend court. They will direct you to the courtroom where your case will be held. They will also let you know where you can wait prior to being called to testify.
At the beginning of the trial, all witnesses will be asked to leave the courtroom until it is their turn to testify. This is so the witnesses tell their stories independently and are not influenced by what other witnesses say in court.
See Court Appearances Before the Trial for more information.