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Witnesses Examination Notes

BPTC Law Notes > BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Witnesses Examination notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.

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EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES Form of W evidence Can be:general rule: orally in courtread with agreement of both parties, provided:
# statement signed by maker
# statement maker has signed statement of truth
# copy of statement served on other parties at least 7 days before hearing (s9 CJA 1967)
# within 7 days of service, no party has objected to statement being readgiven through live link / pre-recorded video

Examination-in-Chief Examination in chief Rule against leading questions: Prevent Witness being led to give distorted account Evidence elicited is admissible - weight attached may be reduced Exceptions where can lead Introductory matters Undisputed matters Hostile Witnesses Refreshing Memory Before Giving Evidence Witnesses are permitted to have copy of statement before giving evidence to refresh their memorynot to be given to Witnesses in circumstances where can compare with each other

If Prosecution Witnesses have refreshed memory - desirable Defence should be informed. Opposing party entitled to Cross-examine on document used to refresh memory. If Cross-examination extends to matters beyond those which Witness referred to in Examination in Chief - Party calling Witness entitled to put whole document in evidence (so tribunal of fact can see whole document) During Giving Evidence Can be used in Examination in Chief, Cross-examination and Re-examination

Available to all Witnesses including Defendant. Presumption Witness will be permitted to refresh-memory from any document if testifies that:

1. the document records his recollection at the time he made it, and

2. his recollection is likely to have been significantly better at time document made than at time giving oral evidence (s139(1) CJA 2003) Also applies to transcript of sound-recordings. Document must be:made by Witness, ormade by another and verified by Witness

May use: original, copy or document containing substantially what was in the statement. Must be no communication with Witness whilst reads statement. Present Recollection Revived Where Witness uses document to refresh memory - ie. to remember detail
? s139 only applies to present recollection revived Past Recollection Recorded Where Defendant has no present recollection, but swears to accuracy of record in where Defendant swears that signature conveys accuracy of document.

document itself admissible under s120(1),(4),(6) CJA 2003 (hearsay - business docs) Application (s139 CJA 2003) Party calling Witness must apply to Judge for Witness to be permitted to refresh memoryor Judge may suggest Witness refreshes memory if in the interests of justice to do so.

Judge's decision whether to permit - may refuse. Inspection document used to refresh memory:must be made available to other parties to inspect, andmay be used by other parties to Cross-examine

Where document used for Cross-examination If Cross-examination on document:suggests recent fabrication, orgoes beyond matters in document covered in Examination in Chief

Whole document may be admitted as evidence Admissible evidence of truth of any matters stated in document if:oral evidence of that matter would have been admissible, anddocument made by Witness (not if only verified by Witness) Previous Consistent Statements

Rule: A Witness may not be asked in Examination in Chief about a previous consistent oral/written statement in order to show consistency.Nor may any party seek to adduce evidence of previous consistent statement through any Witness

Exceptions - where W can be asked in XIC about previous consistent statement Evidence in Rebuttal of Allegation of Recent Fabrication Can admit previous consistent statement to disprove allegation of recent fabrication. Not limited to previous written statement - may be previous oral statement, admitted by calling the hearer as a Witness. Previous statement can be proved in Re-examination or by calling a Witness to give evidence that it was made. Conditions for Admissibility

1. contemporaneity - statement must have been made at time of event or sufficiently early to be inconsistent with suggestion of recent fabrication

2. Judge must be satisfied that: (a) account given has been attacked on ground of recent fabrication (no need for deliberate dishonesty BUT mere suggestion W is incredible is NOT enough) (b) contents of previous statement are to same effect as oral evidence being attacked, and (c) previous consistent statement rationally tends to answer the attack. Admissibilityconsistency; andas evidence of the matters stated in the statement, of which oral evidence would be admissible. (s120 CJA)

Direction Judge must give specific direction to jury that it is not independent of the Witness and on its use. In considering how much weight to attach to statement, should remember that it was made by same person who gave oral evidence of those matters. Statements made on accusation Wholly exculpatory - only admissible as evidence of D's reaction when first taxed, consistency of defence (NOT truth of contents) Mixed or admissions - admissible as truth of the facts stated Previous ID Evidence Witness must (while giving evidence) indicate that:

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