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University Police

2013 Edition, May Issue

Tips if you are a Witness in Court
by Sgt. Ed Jones

    When you testify in court you are giving evidence. The judge is trying to determine how much of the testimony you are giving should be accepted. What you say, how you say it, and how you present it are all important factors in making this determination. Everything matters in the presentation of your evidence. To be put in front of a courtroom with a judge, lawyers and people sitting in seats can be a nerve-racking experience. Take a look at the following information to help you become a better witness.

  • Dress appropriately. Show your respect for the courtroom.
  • Be on time and show up to the right place.
  • Sit up straight, look people in the eye and do not chew gum while you are testifying.
  • Listen carefully to the question asked, answer that question only.
  • Do not try to interpret what the lawyer wants, just answer the question.
  • If you did not hear the question, then ask to have it repeated.
  • Make sure you understand the question, if you did not then say so.
  • If you cannot remember the answer to the question asked then say so.
  • Speak clearly, loudly and not too fast. The court reporter must record all testimony.
  • Once you have answered the question stop. Wait for the next question to be asked, do not try to fill up dead space.
  • Always remain polite and respectful. Rudeness reflects badly on you.
  • Do not refuse to answer a question. If the question is inappropriate then the other lawyer or the judge will intervene.
  • When testifying, only discuss what you have observed, do not discuss what someone else told you.
  • Relax and stick to the truth.


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