Preparing Yourself To Testify In Edmonton

March 17, 2023


In most cases, a criminal defence lawyer like Mr. Royer is able to establish that his client is not guilty through cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses. In some cases, it is, however, necessary for an accused to testify. If an accused testifies and they are believed, or if their evidence leaves the court with doubt, they must be acquitted. It is very important to be prepared to testify.

The issues discussed in this blog post deal with preparing yourself to testify.

The Importance Of Remaining Truthful

First, be truthful. That may seem easy, but it includes more than just honesty. For example, if you were acting suspiciously and trying not to be seen when leaving a scene or during arrest, you appeared nervous, don’t try to spin that or argue that when you testify. We all now know that people get nervous when interacting with police and don’t necessarily want to interact with law enforcement.

If the prosecutor can get you to deny your behaviour or if you spin it, you will look less credible, and the court will believe the witness testifying to the contrary. That goes for everything. No spin, no angle, just straight truth. The whole truth. A witness that is completely truthful is believable.

Defiance Is Not The Way Forward

For some reason, the public believes criminal defence lawyers are tricky. We are not. We don’t try to dupe witnesses. If we tricked, confused, or duped a witness in any way, we wouldn’t be successful in defending people. It is an intelligent judge that decides, and he or she will not be tricked. Don’t try to guess what the lawyer is asking questions for; it will result in you appearing argumentative, defiant, and ultimately uncredible.

Avoid Sounding Evasive

Knowing lawyers are not tricksters does not mean they won’t take advantage of inconsistencies. Be clear in your evidence. You have to pay attention. Make sure you understand the question, and if you don’t, ask for clarification. Then, if you understand the question, answer it completely.

For example, if you are asked whether you committed the crime, then answer the question with a clear ‘no’ but don’t say things not related to that question. Don’t say, ‘How could you even suggest that.’ That takes away from the answer and is evasive.

Read Also: Building A Strong Defence Strategy: How A Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Help

Recognize Unfair Questioning

Now, if a question gets asked that’s unfair, like, ‘Are you lying or are you just mistaken?’ there is no suitable answer, and an experienced defence lawyer will rise to object. Don’t answer if your lawyer stands up. Wait for the court to rule. Nonetheless, be wary of unfair questions, though and be cautious.

Discussion Is Not A Sin

There is nothing wrong with you discussing what happened with anyone. Many people get tripped up on that. ‘Have you reviewed the evidence against you?’ Your answer would be ‘yes’. ‘Have you discussed your evidence with anyone other than your lawyer?’ The answer is always ‘Yes’. I bet you have told people you didn’t do this, right? “Yes.” So be honest and say that. ‘I told whoever that I didn’t do this.’

You can expect the prosecutor to ask if‌ you have discussed your evidence with anyone. Simply say ‘yes’ if that’s true.

Control Your Emotions

Don’t fight or get angry. If it was the first time you were told about this accusation, it would be easy to understand the anger. But it’s been some time, probably months and maybe years, so it no longer fits to be outraged. Be normal. Answer questions. Don’t try to manipulate the court through signs of emotion.

Try to relax. In many cases, you’re on trial for your freedom. If you can somehow be at ease that the truth will set you free, then the fact you appear conversational, rather than emotional, will help.

Appear Respectful

There are two issues involving a witness which affect whether their evidence is accepted. The first is their reliability: their ability to accurately observe and provide information. The other issue is credibility. Their honesty. Being and dressing respectfully toward the court will help with both issues. Having support from family and friends in the courtroom may also assist.

Coached Responses Are Never Good

A criminal defence lawyer like Mr. Royer will never train a witness on how to respond. Being coached will be noticed by the court and will doom your evidence. Instead, hypothetical questions the prosecutor will likely ask will be told to you, and Mr. Royer’s questions will be generally wide open. “Can you tell me what happened? for example. Then if you miss anything important, Mr. Royer will go over that with you.

In contrast, the prosecution will ask you pointed questions that suggest the answer. For example, ‘You were drunk, right?’ And then you answer.

All in all, there are many nuanced concerns that will arise in any case that will affect witness preparation. An experienced and well-prepared criminal defence lawyer will not only craft an excellent defence strategy against the charges but will also help alleviate your concerns about testifying in court.

Relax, this is your chance to say what really happened.

About Daryl Royer

Boasting years of experience and unmatched expertise, Mr. Royer stands as one of the most sought-after criminal defence lawyers in Edmonton. Learn more about Daryl Royer.

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