Presenting honest and accurate evidence is the backbone of our judicial system. No one deserves a wrongful conviction, and we don’t want to let criminal activity go unchecked either. For that, bringing witnesses to the courtroom helps ensure the whole story is told. Pairing the right witnesses’ testimonies with complete audio video evidence is often the best strategy for making sure we uphold justice.
3 Types of Witnesses
A witness has crucial information to share about a case, and these individuals are separated into three different categories. The first is called a “lay witness.” This person states that they saw certain events with their own eyes, or that they have other key details to present to the court. These testimonies are incredibly valuable for determining the outcome of a case. Unfortunately, sometimes an eyewitness may be unreliable—even when they’re doing their best to recall events accurately and truthfully.
The next type of witness is known as an “expert witness.” The defense and the prosecutor both rely on expert witness testimonies because these professionals can offer a unique, educated perspective on different evidence presented to the court. When these individuals are called to testify, they will only speak on matters that directly relate to their own area of expertise.
Additionally, a “character witness” may be invited to the courtroom to share their personal accounts of the defendant, victim, or another person connected to the case. They can often speak to someone’s behavior or temperament, which can be useful in determining whether various pieces of evidence line-up with each other, or whether there are clear inconsistencies with an accusation.
Tips for Court Testimony
Out of the three types of witnesses, the expert witness tends to be the most familiar with the courtroom setting. More likely than not, they will have been called to present testimony on multiple cases in the past. So, in a way, it’s just like “another day at the office” when they present the expert opinions on a case.
The situation is rather different with a lay witness or a character witness. These people are often stepping into these environments for the first time, and the courtroom can be very tense and stressful. Remembering to use simple language and to think before you speak will help provide the court with reliable evidence.
As a witness, you never want to state something that isn’t true. Listening to each question carefully, and then taking a moment to think through the most responsible response before speaking is the best rule of thumb. And if you’re confused about what’s being asked? Just politely ask for the question to be repeated. Keep calm, and stay professional. All types of witnesses are an important part of keeping our communities safe and making sure we all adhere to high ethical standards.
Video Evidence Recording
When agencies have the opportunity to work with audio video evidence recordings, many cases become more streamlined. This is especially true with cases involving child victims or other sensitive and traumatic experiences. Asking a victim to re-tell their story multiple times often creates unnecessary stress and grief. That’s why many agencies opt for interview evidence recordings to give the court what they need.
Simply recording the testimony the first time through allows detectives to save the most recent evidence, rather than wait for the victim to come to the courtroom. Moreover, it saves individuals from needing to re-live the experience with each re-telling.
If your agency is ready to upgrade your interview recording room, our team at iRecord would be happy to assist you. Contact us today to discuss your options, and help your local courts get the most accurate interview evidence as possible!