A witness to an incident or event.

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An individual may be asked to be a witness if they have knowledge of a particular crime or incident. It may be that they saw it happen or arrived at the scene whilst the incident was taking place, they will have first hand knowledge of the events that happened and will be asked to be a witness.  

Expert witnesses are individuals who have a specialist knowledge in certain areas that may be useful when looking at facts relating to a trial. Expert witnesses cover many areas from allergies to psychology to whiplash. Their main function is to provide an independent expert opinion to the court, based on the information provided by those instructing him. It is the duty of an expert witness to assist the court.


A character witness is someone who knows one of the people who are involved in the case. Character witnesses will be asked to attend the trial and answer questions about the person who is on trial. They might be asked how long they have known the offender and in what capacity and whether they think the offender is trustworthy.


The common interpretation or definition of this word is a person who experiences an incident or event and has information about the matter (the witness may be able to give evidence as to what they saw, smelt, heard etc).  It follows that the court regulates and supervises such evidence as the witness may give to the court, either in writing (deposition) or verbally from the witness box in court, or by video link etc. (testimony). If an individual has given a statement and he or she is then asked to give evidence, they must attend the trial.  The court can issue a witness summons against them if they have concerns that he may not attend. If the witness still fails to attend court without having a valid reason he will be 'in contempt of court' and a warrant will be issued for his arrest.


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