Going to court and being a witness
If you have made a witness statement to the Police about a crime, you may be called to give evidence at the trial of the accused. You will be notified about the trial by the ODPP and will recieve a subpoena to give evidence in the mail. The subpoena and the letter from the ODPP will provide the contact details of the ODPP officer handling the case. If you have any questions about giving evidence you should contact that ODPP officer or the police officer involved in the case.
If you find understanding or speaking English difficult speak to the ODPP lawyer or the police officer involved in the case as soon as possible. He or she will arrange for an interpreter.
If you have a disability or special needs for giving your evidence please inform the ODPP lawyer, the Witness Assistance Service or Police officer.
Courts are usually open to the public so your friends and family, if they are not witnesses, are able to be in court while you are giving evidence.
The ODPP will arrange witness expenses to assist you to travel to court and if it is necessary for you to stay away from home to give evidence or attend a conference with the ODPP. As a witness, you will be paid, in accordance with a scale set by the Attorney-General’s Department, as a contribution towards loss of wages, travelling, meals, accommodation and related expenses as required.
You should contact the ODPP officer looking after the case as soon as possible to discuss any particular needs you might have in relation expenses.
If you need money to help you get to court, please let the police officer, the ODPP lawyer or the WAS Officer know as soon as possible before the day of court so these can be organised.
After you have given evidence, a police officer can help you to fill out the witness expenses claim form. The current witness expense rates are set out on that claim form.
In cases involving sexual assault or vulnerable or child witnesses special arrangements can be made to reduce the stress and trauma that may be associated with giving evidence including:
- Closing the court from the general public
- Using a screen to sheild the witness from the accused person
- Non-publication orders about the evidence
- Support persons who may stay with the witness while giving evidence
- Using pre recorded evidence
- Giving evidence via Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)