Why is important to create a witness statement form?
A witness statement form is a document which contains the summary of a witness’ oral evidence which he will provide during the trial. The purpose of this document is to disclose the evidence of the witness. There are even some jurisdictions where the document would serve as the testimony. But in other jurisdictions, this document only serves as a “preview” of the evidence that the witness will provide.
You can prepare a witness statement in different ways. If it’s your first time to compose this document, you can look at some witness statement examples to have a better idea of what to write. Here are some ways you can write the witness statement:
- The witness may write down his statement or his version of the events that transpired using his own words. Then he should affix his signature, date the document, and have it notarized.
- A lawyer may also write the statement based on what the witness described then ask the witness to sign the document.
- The witness may also record his statement then testify the accuracy of what he said during the trial. Courts consider this type of witness statement as official, and you can use it during the trial.
Types of witness statement forms
No matter where you are, there are times when you may experience altercations or incidents. When such instances occur, and you’re a witness, the people assigned to the investigation may speak to you or even ask you to sign a witness affidavit form. This document contains all of the details you’ve remembered about the incident you’ve witnessed. There are different types of witness statement template, and they depend on the situation they’re used for. You can make a form or a template for:
- Office workers
What to include in your witness statement form
If you’re tasked to compose a witness statement example, you should only write what you know. The document should only contain information about what you’ve seen, what you’ve done, and what you’ve heard with regards to the incident. Never include gossip, rumors or information which you’ve acquired from other sources. In case there are other witnesses, the investigator would have to ask all of them to prepare a witness statement form too.
These statements should also contain all of the information to establish your credibility as a witness. For instance, when making a statement for your work, you should also include relevant information pertaining to your employment such as:
- the date when you signed your contract for employment
- the date when your work began and the position you began with
- if you’re employed under any enterprise agreement, state this as well
- If you had a promotion, state the date and your new job title
- any details about a change in your responsibilities and duties
- any details regarding meetings about performance or complaints
- any details about your dismissal and the reason for it
- the date of your last working day
Dates are very important in witness statements. However, there may be times when you can’t remember the exact date of the incident. In such a case, you may include the date range and add the words “on or about” to emphasize the estimation.
If you’re making the witness statement yourself and you want to include significant things that other people said during the incident, then you can place these statements in quotation marks. Also, if there are any documents involved, you need to attach them to the witness statement if you will talk about them too. You can call these documents the “attachments” when referring to them in your statements.
Tips for taking statements for your witness statement form
A witness affidavit form is a document which includes the statements of a witness regarding an incident. If you’re in charge of investigating the incident, you may have to gather statements from witnesses. You can either ask them to make the statements themselves, or you can write it for them based on what they disclosed to you then ask them to sign. To guide you, here are some tips for taking statements from witnesses:
- When speaking to the witness, ask him to share the information briefly and concisely. There’s no need to include his comments about what happened or any rumors which he may have heard about the event. If you’re writing the statements verbatim, use quotation marks.
- Speak to all of the witnesses who were present at the time the event occurred. Do this so that you can compose all of the witness statements, and you can also include all of the information in your investigation report.
- As you converse with the witnesses, take down notes so that you will remember everything they’ve said when it’s time to make the witness statement forms. But if the witness doesn’t feel comfortable about you writing down notes, stop and listen carefully so you won’t forget anything.
- When you’re asking questions to the witness, make them as simple as you possibly can. Also, avoid using technical jargon or terminology as these might confuse the person you’re talking to. When the witness answers your questions, wait until he’s finished before you ask the next question.
- There may be times when the witness isn’t able to immediately recall the details of the incident. This is especially true if he witnessed something extremely stressful or traumatizing. In such a case, you have no choice but to wait patiently. Asking too many questions or forcing the witness to answer the questions and share information which he doesn’t remember won’t get you anywhere. The witness might end up refusing to speak to you altogether!
- There may also be times when the witness isn’t able to voice out what he has seen, heard or experienced. In such cases, you may ask the witness to express himself using diagrams or sketches if such would be easier for him. Then you would have a visual interpretation of a witness statement.
- It’s never a good idea to admit to any kind of liability. When discussing with a witness, you should never suggest that you possess prior knowledge of any dangerous behavior or condition which led to the event in question. Also, it’s not a good idea to start arguing with the witness about legal or moral issues. Remember that your job is to get the statement. Saying too much might make you liable.
- If you’re making the document for other people, make sure to ask the witnesses who provided the statements to affix their signature and the date. Both you and the witness should do this step.
Writing a witness statement form for the court
In times when lawsuits need to reach the court, witness statement forms can prove to be extremely valuable. You can use these documents as a form of evidence, but you first need to know how to compose them properly. You may download this witness statement template, and either use it or make it as your reference when composing your own statement. Either way, these tips can help you out:
- Before you begin, try to remember all of the details of the incident. If you plan to ask other people to give their statements, think about whether or not they’re worthy to become a witness to the incident.
- As you write your statement, make sure it’s short and concise. Adding too many words to lengthen the document might make it confusing.
- Begin the document by writing down the court name, the case name, and the case number.
- Write small numbers in at the beginning of each paragraph to make the document easier to refer to when used in court.
- Provide a brief background of the case to ensure that everyone involved has an idea of the incident and why you’re bringing it up in court.
- You may write the witness statements either in narrative or bullet form. The important thing to make sure is that all the information in the document is true as stated by the witnesses.
- Include a statement which claims that you’ve sworn to the law that everything you’ve written in the document is true.
- Affix your signature to the document or if you’re writing the statement for the witness, ask him to sign.
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