Being a Witness
Playing your part in delivering justice
Why have I been asked to be a witness?
You have already told the police about something that happened to you, or something that you saw or heard. The police made a record of what you said, either by writing it down (in your statement) or by making a video of you saying what happened. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service have decided that someone may have committed a crime and must go to court for a trial. Now the court needs you to answer questions about what happened. What you tell the court is called your evidence. It is important that anyone who helps you to prepare for court does not talk to you in detail about your evidence. The court needs to hear from you in your own words.
Why does there need to be a trial?
A trial happens when a person, called the defendant, is accused of committing a crime. If the defendant states that they are “not guilty” a trial at court is needed to decide whether or not this is true. People in the court hear both sides of the argument and then decide whether or not the defendant is guilty. The court can only reach this decision with the help of evidence given by witnesses like you.
What happens before I go to court?
A Witness Care Officer will contact you to provide help and advice about going to court. They will arrange for you to visit an empty courtroom before the day of the trial so that you can see what it will be like. They will tell you when you need to go to court and which court to go to. The Witness Care Officer is not able to go to court with you but there will be other people at court who can help you on the day. If you have any concerns about going to court it is important that you tell the Witness Care Officer. They can help you or put you in touch with people who can.