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Evidence – hostile and difficult witnesses

NZ $40.00
Janine Bonifant 2015 Tom Gilbert 2015
Janine Bonifant
Tom Gilbert
Luke Cunningham Clere

This book is only available in PDF format

Authors: Janine Bonifant, Tom Gilbert
Published: 25 May 2015
Pages: 23


Witnesses are an important part of our core business as litigators. Cases are determined on the evidence presented in Court. Evidence almost always involves witnesses.

The problem with witnesses is that they come in many different shapes and sizes. Whilst openings, closings and submissions are largely within our control, often witnesses are not. Their backgrounds, their motivations, their loyalties and their intelligence all affect the way in which they present in the witness box. A compliant witness is relatively straight forward. A difficult or hostile witness is not.

Because of this, it is essential to have mastery of the tools and techniques that exist to deal with witnesses who are unhelpful, unwilling, or unable. Unless you have these tools in your kit, evidence that is important to your client’s case may not be aired in court.

This webinar, and paper, deals with some of the common problems encountered with difficult and hostile witnesses. We primarily focus on refreshing memory and hostile witnesses. In addition we also cover the issues that can arise when swearing witnesses in – often the first sign of problems to come!

Each of these areas can cause significant anxiety because people are unfamiliar with the rules and processes that apply to them. We hope that practitioners – especially relatively inexperienced practitioners – likely to encounter witnesses who are difficult or hostile find this material helpful in outlining the relevant law and the correct processes to use. This should smooth the way for a more effective, and more enjoyable, presentation of your client’s case.

We have included flow charts as an easy reference guide to have at your side when on the job. We have also included references to the appropriate pages in the very good NZLS Introduction to Advocacy text (the latest version published in 2014 which has a green cover). This is an excellent first point of call when checking many basic issues relating to litigation in New Zealand.

Good luck!

Content outline

  • Having a witness sworn
    • Witnesses of or over the age of 12
    • Witnesses under the age of 12 years
    •  Oaths, affirmations and promises in video interviews
    • Giving evidence without an oath, affirmation or promise
    • Problem witnesses: witnesses who refuse to take an oath, affirm or promise
  • Refreshing a witness' memory
    • The legisation
    • Documents excluded from s 90
    • The s 90 procedure
    • What to do if leave is granted
  • Hostile witnesses
View contents page

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Criminal Law - working with intellectually disabled clients

Publication Date: 20-Mar-2015

Authors: David Allan, Dr Bridit Mirgin-Veitch

NZ $35.00

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