Tips for Testifying
The following tips will help you when you are testifying.
- Answer questions with as much detail as you can remember. Remember:
- The judge does not know anything about the case except what is presented as evidence
- Even if you gave a written statement to police, the judge or jury will not have seen or heard it
- Usually your statement is not evidence - your spoken testimony is.
- Only answer the question asked.
- Take as much time as you need to consider your answer.
- Look at the judge or jury when answering.
- Speak clearly and slowly so everyone can hear your answers. Courtroom microphones are used to record witnesses’ voices, not to make them louder.
- Speak your answers. The microphone cannot record a nod or head shake.
- Listen carefully to the question. Wait until the lawyer has finished speaking before you answer.
- Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question.
- Behave respectfully. Do not be sarcastic, lose your temper, joke or argue with the lawyers.
- If you are asked to identify the accused, look around the entire courtroom to ensure they are the accused before you answer.
- Ask for a break or glass of water if you need one.
- Always tell the truth and do not exaggerate, guess or use words that are unclear. If you are unsure about something, clearly say so.
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