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Will I have to go to court as a victim or witness?
If warned to attend court, you are legally obliged to attend. However there is plenty of help and support the Voice and the Court Witness Service can provide to ease you through the process.
In certain circumstances, if the Judge decides, special measures may be put into place so that even though you may still have to give evidence, it may be via a Video Link or behind a screen so you do not see the Defendant.
Why you might not have to go to court…
- The suspect pleads guilty there is no trial, only sentencing – meaning you won’t have to go to court.
- The defence lawyer could also accept your evidence and so only your statement is read out at the trial meaning you won’t have to give evidence in person.
- Other scientific or witness evidence covers the same point more strongly
- Other reasons the witness may not give evidence in court are that the suspect is not caught, the case is cleared up in some other way or the evidence is not strong enough for the Crown Prosecution Service to charge the suspect.To find out more about CPS decision-making, see the information on the Decision to Charge.
- Special measures may mean you do not physically have to be in the courtroom.
Why you might have to go to court…
A defendant may plead not guilty, or plead guilty, but deny an important part of the offence, which would make a difference to the sentence they could receive. In such cases, the court will need to hear evidence from witnesses in order to decide whether or not the defendant is guilty.
If the case does go to court and you’re required to give evidence, you will be contacted.
Who decides if I have to go to court?
It is the Crown Prosecution Service that decide who needs to attend Court to give evidence. The CPS then notify Voice to contact Victims and Witnesses to arrange their attendance. The CPS also notify Voice of any prosecution Witnesses that the Defence may want to attend to give evidence, even if the Prosecution decide they are not required.Next section: What court will I have to go to?
Last modified 30th January 2017
This is a place for you to explore. You can find out who's who in court, test out the extra help you can get and see what court looks like.
"Going to court was made all the less daunting with the help of Voice.
Even though going into court was a daunting experience, it was made easier with the help I received from Voice. Not only did they offer me practical support about the different things I should do, they also gave me emotional support as well."
Get extra help if you need it
· If you are under 18 · Feel vulnerable · Feel intimidated · Have a disability or are suffering from a physical disorder · Have experienced a serious crime or sexual offence · You have a mental disorder · You have significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning · Or if your evidence is likely to suffer because you are extremely distressed at giving evidence Talk to us to receive special measures in court. We can help you through. To learn more about special measures and what you deserve read more here Call us for advice on 0300 303 1965