Learn about being a Court Witness
Witnesses are very important in trials. As part of the prosecution process, witnesses are summoned, transported and prepared to provide evidence. The DPP’s Office is responsible for the summoning, transporting and preparation of witnesses for court.
The Prosecutor liaises with the Defence Lawyer to agree on the witnesses that are required for the case. The Prosecutor gives a list of witnesses required to a Witness Liaison Officer (WLO).
The WLO looks through the Police file for the contact address of the witnesses and prepares a Summons for the required Witnesses. The Summons to Witnesses is taken to the High Court or Magistrate Court (court where the matter will be heard) for the Registrar’s signature as it is a legal document that commands witnesses to appear in court or face the consequence of not appearing.
The Registrar signs and stamps the Summons and returns it to the ODPP. Upon receipt of the signed and stamped Summons, the WLO sends the Summons to the Police (case officer or the station where the case file emanated).
The Summons is then prepared in duplicate to be signed by the witnesses on receipt of the Summons. A signed copy of the Summons by the witnesses is returned as evidence to both the Prosecutor and the Court that the Summons was served. The WLO will then arrange a date and time with the Prosecutor for a conference with the witnesses.
If the witnesses are in the Provinces or are far from where the trial will be held, the WLO will arrange the transport, accommodation and allowance for the witnesses. The Witnesses are picked from the wharf, airport or their homes and delivered to their accommodation in Honiara or in the Provinces.
The Witnesses are then picked from their accommodation and transported to the DPP’s office in Honiara or Province for their conference with the Prosecutor. After their conference with the Prosecutor, they are returned to their accommodation.
The Witnesses are brought to court from their accommodation daily until they complete their evidence in court. The Witnesses are then transported back to their Province or home after completing their evidence in court.