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Give evidence in your defence

If you have chosen to give evidence, you will have to do it under oath from the witness stand. This is a promise that you are telling the truth.

Note

If you do not tell the truth in court, you may be charged by the court. You may then be fined or imprisoned.

You may ask the judge for some time to think about what you want to say in your defence.

There are 3 stages to your examination.

What to expect or do:
  • Introduce yourself to the court with your full name, age and current occupation.
  • Give a summary of the reasons why you are not guilty.
  • Give your version of what happened.
  • Avoid making inappropriate remarks about people or things.
  • Refer to documents, photographs and other evidence if needed. Explain to the judge the purpose of the evidence and give further details about it if necessary.

What to expect or do:

  • The prosecutor will challenge what you said during the examination-in-chief.
  • They may refer to statements made earlier by you in the course of the investigations as evidence.
    • You can request an ancillary hearing if you disagree with the admissibility of any statements presented by the prosecution. This means you believe the evidence is not safe for the court to rely on.

Clarify what you said in response to the prosecution during the cross-examination.

Examining your witnesses

When you have finished giving your evidence, you may then call your witnesses to the stand one at a time.

The examination of each of your witnesses consists of 3 stages.

What to expect or do:
  • Ask your witnesses to introduce themselves with their name, age, NRIC and current occupation.If you have called an expert witness, ask your expert witness to tell the court about their qualifications in their specialised field.
  • Ask your witness open-ended questions which may help your case, or cast doubts on the prosecution’s case.
  • Avoid putting your version of the events to the witness, and asking them to agree or disagree.
The prosecutor will challenge what your witness said during the examination-in-chief.
What to expect or do:
  • Avoid raising new evidence.
  • Ask the witness questions to explain or clarify matters put to them by the prosecution during the cross-examination.

Guidelines for questioning witnesses

You can only ask your witnesses questions relevant to your case during examination-in-chief and re-examination. Your witnesses should be able to answer them based on their personal knowledge.

You should avoid asking for their:

  • Comments about the law.
  • Opinions about the evidence given by other witnesses.
  • Opinions or inferences about the case, unless they are an expert witness.
  • Intentions, thoughts and views of another person.

The prosecution’s rebuttal witness

After you and your witnesses are examined, the prosecution may then call or recall witnesses to disprove the evidence you raised in your defence. These witnesses are called rebuttal witnesses.

A rebuttal witness can only be called to dispute new information introduced by your defence. You will also be given the chance to cross-examine them.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

2021/07/23

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