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Before the trial

The court will set the start date of the trial. A Sheriff's officer or police officer will contact you and serve a witness summons which is a legal document requiring you to attend court.

When you receive the witness summons you should contact the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) if travel and accommodation arrangements need to be made. Otherwise, a DPP lawyer will make contact with you prior to the trial to arrange an appointment to discuss your evidence and to explain the trial process.

If you have difficulty understanding or speaking English you should contact the DPP. We will arrange for an interpreter to help you throughout this case.

Preparing for the trial

Prepare yourself before you give evidence in a hearing by:

  • reading your subpoena, notice to witness or witness summons carefully. The document or documents that you have received will give you important information about your rights and obligations as a witness.

  • reflecting on the incident that you will be providing evidence about and try to remember details like dates, times, description, actual words, as best you can - don’t worry if you cannot remember everything.

  • asking the prosecutor if you can read your statement to refresh your memory; in some cases the prosecutor may not wish you to do this.

  • remembering to take any relevant documents about the case with you to court.

  • requesting an interpreter on the day of the trial if you think you need one - discuss this with the prosecutor.

  • finding out which court the matter is listed in. Court hearings are listed under the name of the accused and you can also enquire at the court reception. Go to the waiting area outside the courtroom and wait to be called. If you are concerned about contact with the accused, let the court officer know. There may be a separate room for you to wait in.

  • not discussing your evidence with other witnesses or anybody else in the waiting area. Do not go in to the courtroom until the orderly calls you

Last updated: 18-Feb-2013

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