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Witness statements & court cases

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Has anyone ever given a witness statement for something where the case has eventually gone to court?

If so, can you remember what happened?

I had an out of the blue phone call on Friday morning from the police confirming that the contact details they had for me were still current, so they could send out a letter to me as a witness as the case is now going to court. At the time I'd got the impression that the statement would be the end of it, but now it's starting to seem like I might have to turn up to court.

So does anyone know if it's standard system and they write to everyone? Or if they only write if they might be calling you to the court case?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think it is standard because any witness can be examined in court, the prosecution and defence agree who will be examined and who won't be.

    If you gave a statement and either party want you to be examined in court, then you will be. If what you said was fairly uncontroversial or covered by a bazillion other people in more details then it can be agreed to just have your statement read out in court, but if what you said is disputed and material to the case then you have to turn up to court.

    Talk to the police about what's likely to happen.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah. They usefully rang me at home shortly after 0830 am, brain wasn't really super in gear on the questions front, was my day off to deal with exhaustion.

    Nothing I said is likely to be disputed, unless they're going to argue the CCTV of me isn't actually me and it's someone else instead.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's less likely that you will be called then, as uncontroversial statements can just be read into evidence.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Be sure to get the cops to let you read your statement again before you goto court if you end up having to go.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They will usually give you your statement in court before you get called in
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Having a copy of the statement will be the least of my concerns if I get called in. Not spending between now and the end of the trial in a flat spin is going to be a big enough challenge.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey there Scary_Monster,

    Bit of a tricky time for you at the moment while you wait to hear if you have to go to Court as a witness; but in the meantime you can prepare yourself if you do have to go.

    You might like to read the DirectGov's guide to 'Going to court as a witness'.

    You can also have a look at the 'Witness Support' website. They can offer a lot of support for witnesses; for example someone to talk to before the trial or someone to walk into Court with you.

    Hopefully preparing yourself will make you feel more at ease about the situation.

    Hope this helps :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Cheers.

    I have now received a notice to attend court. Still not sure if that means actually likely to be cakked or if its just standard procedure for everyoje who gave a statement.

    Not massively impressed, says to keep an 8 week period frr from commitments. Little bit tricky with a job that one.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So, I am still thoroughly confused, and google has failed me. Direct.gov isn't being much better.

    Everything is really vague and up in the air, and seems to be aimed at people who actually saw crime take place. I realise that what most witnesses are, but a little bit more on the less straightforward stuff would be nice.

    Does anyone know what the 'Notice to Attend Court' actually means. Does that mean they are intending on calling me to court, and it's just a case of when based on how the timings work out, or does it mean that I gave a statement related to the case and they send the same thing to everyone?

    And if anyone can answer that and it's likely that I'm likely to have to go to court, does anyone know the time scales on stuff like having a look round first, how much warning you get, how long you might be in the court for, etc. etc. etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think that you're probably best off discussing this with the police, as they will be able to give you a few more pointers about what they are wanting. IIRC a notice to attend court is not the same as a summons, but if you start making noises about not turning up they might serve a summons on you. If you think your employer's likely to be an arse about giving you the time to go, then make sure they summons you, as it's unlawful to sack you if you've been summonsed.

    I think it sounds like they've done it as you might be called, rather than will be called, but as I say it isn't just the police/CPS who decide who to call. If the defence want to put you to proof they can insist you come. If your evidence is fairly uncontroversial then it is less likely you will have to go, similarly if the trial is at the Magistrates Court it's probably less likely.

    In terms of how long you will be, the trial will probably be 'warned' for a week. If it is listed then you will be called to attend on one of the days (most trials only last one day tbh), you will wait outside until the court usher calls you in and then you will be free to go once you've given evidence.

    If the trial is at Crown Court you can ring the Crown Court Witness Service on 0845 303 0900 for a bit more advice.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's not magistrate court and the warning is for 8 weeks. Employer is fortunately unlikely to be a problem, they've got anhr policy for witness and jury stuff and I'd get my full pay and benefits so don't think I need to be overly concerned there fortunately.

    The police calling up to check my address put me into a flat panic, it's really not my favourite topic. Hence anything I can get as clues, however vague, without phoning them would be nice.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think in your case it will come down to what you saw and whether either side wants to cross-examine you. If what you saw is fairly uncontroversial then you probably won't be called, but if there's likely to be a dispute about what you saw then you probably will be called. If the defendant pleads guilty on the morning of the trial, which happens all the bloody time, then you'll be called but sent home and you'll have had all the worry for nothing.

    Make sure you are summonsed if you are called, because that means you are forced to go and employers like the certainty. It prevents your employer acting like a twat- they legally can't sack you for obeying a court summons.

    PS Don't say anything else about the case, if I were you I'd edit what the case is about and where it will be held.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Cheers. Suitably edited.

    From what you've said, still not really any the wiser so think just going to Iate to upx aoe ignore it and wait and see.

    If any body can add anything else, or tthinks they might be able to and pm is more suitable then happy to.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey again Scary_Monster,

    Sorry to hear that you're still struggling with this matter.

    Just wanted to direct you to the Victim Support helpline which is 0845 30 30 900. They can help you with going to court to give evidence by giving you information and support (this is part of the Witness Service mentioned above). You can also email them at [email protected].

    Unfortunately, I'm not too sure what a 'Notice to Attend Court' actually means, but hopefully the Witness Service will be able to assist you with this further as I'm sure they are familiar with the process.

    Also, maybe, you can think about taking a friend with you to court if you are summoned. This could make you feel more at ease on the day. In the meantime is there anyone else you could talk to about how you're feeling about this? A friend or family member? The Witness Service will also be able to listen to your anxieties if you would prefer to talk to an independent person.

    Also, as you mention in your latest post, you may just have to wait and see if you are called to give evidence at court. Maybe you won't know any more until then. The unknown always makes us anxious but hang on in there and in time you will certainly know more.

    :)
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