Informations to Prepare your Testimony
To properly prepare your testimony
- Plan a day away and arrange for childcare.
- Consider the influence of your appearance: wear clean, comfortable clothes, avoid jeans.
- Although you will be summoned at 9:30 a.m., you will probably be called to testify a little later in the day since there are several cases in the same courtroom.
- Before you testify, you will meet with the investigating police officer. The investigating officer will have you read over your statutory declaration, the one you made at the time of the event. In fact, your statement is an aide-memoire.
- Your testimony will be about the facts described in your statement (description of the event, location, date, people present, etc.) and you will not be able to read it in front of the judge, only refer to it for clarification. It is important to tell the truth.
- Stand up when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom.
- It is perfectly normal to be nervous before testifying, so take time to breathe.
- If the clerk asks for your address, you can ask that it be kept confidential.
- Inform the court or the investigating officer if you change your address or if you need an interpreter.
- You should inform the Crown Prosecutor (if necessary) of everything that happened and of any new elements so that he can know all the elements related to the event.
- The Crown Prosecutor will be the first to question you, then the defence lawyer. Expect the defence lawyer to test your credibility. He is doing his job, so know that he is not holding anything against you personally.
- It is important to listen carefully to the questions and only answer the question that is asked. When answering you should address the judge with short answers. You must answer clearly and with all the necessary explanations.
- Answer in a loud enough voice to be heard and wait until the end of the questions before answering.
- If you have forgotten any details, it is important not to make up answers. Instead, answer “I don’t remember or I’m not sure”.
- If you don’t understand the question, don’t hesitate to ask the prosecutor or defence lawyer to repeat the question as many times as you wish.
- It is important to know that the judge’s role is impartial, that is, he or she has no bias, but is still human.
- You must stand when you testify, but you can ask the judge if you could sit down if necessary.
Before leaving the courthouse, go to the compensation counter at the courthouse with your summons to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.