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The day of the trial

You must attend court on the day specified on the summons. Courts usually sit from 10am to 4pm, with a break between 1-2pm for lunch.

The prosecutor may have arranged for you to meet at a particular part of the court. If no arrangements have been made, go to the court counter and ask where you should wait.

There is a public waiting area outside the courtroom, where you can wait until your name is called.  Usually the prosecutor will see you before you are called to give your evidence.

When you enter the court, you must bow towards the judge/magistrate.

A court official will call you from the waiting room and lead you to the witness box. Once in the witness box, you must remain standing until you have completed an oath or affirmation which is a promise to tell the truth.

Before you give evidence, you must satisfy the court that you intend to tell the truth. You have the choice of making an affirmation or taking an oath according to your own religion.

Prosecuting counsel will ask you questions first about your knowledge of, or involvement in, the offence. The prosecutor cannot suggest ideas to you, only provide prompts, as any evidence that you give depends on what you remember.

Defence counsel will question you after the prosecuting counsel.

After questioning by the defence counsel is complete, the prosecuting counsel may ask you some more questions to clarify your answers to the defence counsel.  Sometimes the judge/magistrate may also ask questions to clarify your evidence.

The judge/magistrate will then excuse you from further proceedings and you may stand down.

You may then move to the back of the court where you can watch the rest of the trial, or you may leave.

When giving evidence

Remain calm and focus on the questions. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask for it to be explained or repeated.

Think about each question carefully before you answer - take your time so you can give a complete and accurate answer.

Do not guess - if you are not sure about an answer, just say so.

You can ask the judge/magistrate for a break if you are becoming distressed.

Last updated: 18-Feb-2013

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