Witness Statements

 

It’s your case, it’s your story and the witness statement set out what you believe happened.

A case may be won or lost on the strength of the witness evidence you provide and indeed your performance on the witness stand.

When completing a witness statement, tell the court who you are, where you live and explain the content following is from your recollections. Before starting the statement, consider what the issues are and what evidence you must provide to prove your case. It's all very interesting that Mrs Smith made a nice cake 2 weeks before your timeshare presentation, however it's immaterial to the court. Keep the story on track and start from the beginning keeping it punchy. Don’t wander off the topics and make it interesting for the reader. The court is not interested what colour trousers you had on, but might be interested in how hot it was as you were confined in a room without refreshments, equally they might be interested in how long the sales event took and the amount of free time you were allowed.

One of the problematic areas is known as shooting yourself in the foot, “I was scammed as the resort told me they would re-sell it for me and I would get my money back”

Question in court: "have you got your money back?" Answer: "No!" ..."Did you ask or instruct the resort to resell it on your behalf?", answer "No, because they are a scam".

Important interim applications may fail if the witness statement does not adequately deal with all of the issues. This note contains a practical guide to preparing witness statements for use at trial and interim hearings.

"I paid for the timeshare"    "No, your wife did"

"I was not happy with what I bought"  “Why did you not cancel it?" and more importantly, "Why has it taken you 8 years to bring the matter to the seller's attention?”.

The statement might be presented very well but check over it and get another to ask you questions based upon what you have said and before it is issued.

When you state something in a witness statement have a look at the preserved documents and try and ensure that your reflections are not contradicted.

Witness statements can be a powerful weapon if they are thought out properly. If rushed, when you get to court you can be sure that a barrister will pick holes in it to such an extent that the wheels will come off your litigation bus.

Be truthful and at all times.