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QUESTIONS

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  1. QUESTIONS

  2. PURPOSE OF QUESTIONING • IN A TRIAL, IT IS THE WITNESSES WHO PROVIDE THE EVIDENCE. THE ROLE OF THE LAWYERS IS TO PULL THE EVIDENCE FROM THE WITNESSES.

  3. STYLES OF QUESTIONS • THERE ARE TWO STYLES OF QUESTIONS: • OPEN ENDED WHICH ALLOW FOR EXPLANATION AND DETAIL (EG. ESSAY QUESTION) • CLOSED WHICH HAVE SPECIFIC ANSWERS (EG. MULTIPLE CHOICE, FILL IN THE BLANK, TRUE OR FALSE)

  4. DIRECT EXAMINATION • THESE ARE QUESTIONS ASKED OF YOUR OWN WITNESSES

  5. PURPOSE • THE PURPOSE OF THIS QUESTIONING IS TO HAVE THE WITNESS TELL THEIR STORY OF WHAT THEY KNOW, SAW OR HEARD.

  6. RESPONSIBILITY • DESCRIPTIONS MUST COME FROM THE WITNESS.

  7. STYLE • QUESTIONS MUST BE OPEN-ENDED. THE WITNESS TELLS AND EXPLAINS THEIR STORY.

  8. EXAMPLES: • Q: IDENTIFY YOURSELF FOR THE COURT PLEASE? • A: I AM POLICE OFFICER RONNIE LODGE, DETECTIVE #487

  9. Q: CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE US A SUMMARY OF YOUR QUALIFICATIONS? • A: I HAVE BEEN A POLICE OFFICER FOR 15 YEARS. I AM QUALIFIED AS A FINGERPRINT EXPERT. BEFORE THIS I INVESTIGATED LOST KITTENS AND DOGS

  10. Q: WERE YOU ON DUTY ON MARCH 12, 1999? • A: YES I WAS.

  11. Q: CAN YOU DESCRIBE, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT? • A: AT APPROXIMATELY 7 O’CLOCK I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM ANOTHER UNIFORMED OFFICER. THE CALL WAS ABOUT A POSSIBLE THEFT AT RIVERDALE HIGH SCHOOL. BECAUSE I ATTENDED THAT SCHOOL, I RESPONDED TO THE CALL

  12. Q: WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU GOT TO THE SCHOOL? • A: I MET WITH PRINCIPAL WEATHERBEE AND WAS TOLD THAT SOME COMPUTER ITEMS WERE MISSING

  13. STRATEGY • HAVE THE WITNESS TELL THE WHOLE STORY. EMPHASIZE THE POINTS THAT WILL HELP YOUR CASE. MINIMIZE THOSE THAT WILL HURT YOUR CASE.

  14. ANTICIPATION • ANTICIPATE HOW THEY WILL ATTEMPT TO HURT YOUR WITNESS’S TESTIMONY IN CROSS-EXAMINATION. PREPARE QUESTIONS TO DEAL WITH THESE AHEAD OF TIME.

  15. CROSS-EXAMINATION • THESE ARE QUESTIONS ASKED OF YOUR OPPONENT’S WITNESSES

  16. PURPOSE • THE PURPOSE OF QUESTIONING IS TO CHALLENGE THE EVIDENCE BROUGHT TO THE COURT THROUGH THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESS

  17. RESPONSIBILITY • DESCRIPTIONS SHOULD COME FROM THE LAWYER WHO WILL VERIFY OR CHALLENGE INFORMATION FROM THE WITNESS

  18. STYLE • QUESTIONS SHOULD BE CLOSED. IT IS THE LAWYER WHO PROVIDES THE INFORMATION FOR VERIFICATION.

  19. BEST TYPE OF QUESTIONS WILL RESULT IN YES OR NO ANSWERS WITHOUT EXPLANATION

  20. AVOID ASKING QUESTIONS THAT ALLOW THE WITNESS TO PROVIDE EXPLANATIONS. TRY TO AVOID “WHY?” QUESTIONS.

  21. EXAMPLES: • Q: YOU ARE DETECTIVE RONNIE LODGE, CORRECT? • A: YES

  22. Q: YOU HAVE FIFTEEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE CORRECT? • A: YES

  23. Q: YOU HAVE RECENTLY BECOME QUALIFIED AS A FINGERPRINT EXPERT, CORRECT? • A: YES.

  24. Q: AND BEFORE THEN YOU PRIMARILY INVESTIGATED LOST KITTENS AND DOGS, CORRECT? • A: YES.

  25. Q: CONSIDERING YOUR QUALIFICATIONS, THAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU THE MOST EXPERIENCED IN DEALING WITH THEFT NOW DOES IT? • A: NO

  26. STRATEGY • REVIEW THE WHOLE STORY TOLD. EMPHASIZE THE POINTS THAT WILL HURT THEIR CASE. MINIMIZE THOSE THAT WILL HELP THEIR CASE.

  27. ANTICIPATION • ANTICIPATE HOW YOUR OPPONENT WILL PREPARE FOR YOUR CROSS-EXAMINATION. ALLOW FOR YES OR NO ANSWERS AND CONTROL THE WITNESS’S RESPONSE

  28. KEY RULE OF QUESTIONING • NEVER ASK A QUESTION TO WHICH YOU DO NOT ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER. • ON DIRECT – THE ANSWER SHOULD BE SCRIPTED AND NOT A SURPRISE • ON CROSS – DO NOT ANTICIPATE OR HOPE FOR ANSWERS, DIRECT THE WITNESS TO THE ANSWER YOU WANT. (YES OR NO SHOULD BE THE ONLY OPTION)

  29. SCENARIO #1 – USING ALL WITNESSES • MURDER CASE - A MAN IS ACCUSED OF MURDERING AN INTRUDER WITH A BASEBALL BAT. HIS STORY IS THAT HE WENT TO HIS SHED WHEN HE HEARD AN INTRUDER. HE THOUGHT HE HEARD A VOICE SAY I’VE GOT A GUN. THEN HE SWUNG HIS BAT IN A DARKENED GARAGE. WHEN HE REALIZED HE HIT SOMEONE, HE IMMEDIATELY CALLED THE POLICE. HE ARGUES HE ACTED IN SELF-DEFENCE. YOUR STRATEGY IS TO PORTRAY THE ACCUSED AS A COLD-BLOODED KILLER

  30. WITNESS # 1 – POLICE OFFICER • Q: WHEN YOU ARRIVED AT THE SCENE, WHAT DID YOU FIND? • A: I FOUND A BODY LYING ABOUT 10 METERS FROM THE SHED. • Q: WHAT DID YOU NOTICE ABOUT THE BODY • A: IT LOOKED LIKE THE VICTIM SUFFERED A MASSIVE HEAD INJURY • Q: WHAT DID THE CORONER’S REPORT SAY? • A: THE VICTIM DIED OF A MASSIVE SKULL FRACTURE AND THAT DEATH WOULD HAVE BEEN IMMEDIATE

  31. WITNESS #2 – FRIEND OF VICTIM • Q: WHAT HAPPENED AFTER YOU REALIZED YOUR FRIEND HAD BEEN ATTACKED • A: I RAN AWAY • Q: WHY WAS THAT • A: I WAS AFRAID I WAS GOING TO BE NEXT • Q: DID YOU RETURN TO HELP YOUR FRIEND • A: ARE YOU CRAZY, I TOLD YOU I WAS AFRAID I WAS GOING TO BE NEXT. I WENT HOME AND TOLD MY PARENTS.

  32. WITNESS #3 – FRIEND OF THE ACCUSED • Q: YOU WERE INSIDE THE HOUSE THE WHOLE TIME, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: AND YOU ADVISED YOUR FRIEND, NOT TO GO OUTSIDE, TO CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: AND YOU DID NOT GO OUTSIDE AT ALL, EVEN WHEN YOU WERE TOLD WHAT HAPPENED, CORRECT? • A: THAT IS CORRECT

  33. WITNESS #4 - ACCUSED • Q: YOU SAY YOU ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: YOU MADE NO ATTEMPT TO TAMPER WITH THE BODY, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: YOU DIDN’T TRY TO COVER UP YOUR CRIME, CORRECT? • A: YES

  34. Q: BUT THE BODY WAS FOUND 10 METERS FROM THE SHED. THE POLICE OFFICER TESTIFIED THAT THE BODY WOULD HAVE BEEN DEAD ON IMPACT, THE FRIEND TESTIFIED HE RAN STRAIGHT HOME AND DIDN’T COME BACK AND YOUR FRIEND SAID HE NEVER WENT OUTSIDE, SO YOU MOVED THE BODY DIDN’T YOU? • A: NO • Q: I GUESS IT MUST HAVE BEEN ELVES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT THEN!

  35. SCENARIO #2 – USING INFORMATION THAT IS NOT DIRECTLY STATED • MURDER CASE – A STORE OWNER IS ACCUSED OF MURDERING TWO BOYS WHO HAVE ENTERED HIS/HER STORE. WHILE S/HE ADMITS TO SHOOTING THE TWO, S/HE CLAIMS THAT SHE ACTED IN SELF-DEFENCE. THE TWO BOYS HAD A HISTORY OF ASSAULTING THE STORE OWNER AND S/HE CLAIMS THAT S/HE WAS CONFRONTED THAT NIGHT BY ONE OF THE BOYS WIELDING A KNIFE.

  36. DEFENSE WITNESS # 1 – THE STORE OWNER’S SPOUSE. • Q: AND YOU CLAIM THAT AFTER THE ASSAULT, YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE DECIDED TO PURCHASE A GUN FOR SELF-PROTECTION, CORRECT? • A: THAT IS CORRECT? • Q: AND BEING THE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS YOU ARE, WE CAN ONLY ASSUME THAT YOU PURCHASED THE GUN LEGALLY? • A. CORRECT (BE PREPARED FOR ANOTHER LINE OF QUESTIONING IF THEY ANSWER NO)

  37. Q: JUST TO BE CLEAR, AS LAW ABIDING CITIZENS, YOU WANT US TO BELIEVE YOU ACTED IN A LEGAL MANNER? • A: CORRECT • Q: SO, YOU ARE SAYING THAT YOU ACTED IN A PERFECTLY AND LEGALLY CORRECT MANNER WITH REGARDS TO THE PURCHASE AND HANDLING OF THE GUN (A LOADED QUESTION) • A: CORRECT

  38. DEFENSE WITNESS # 2 – THE ACCUSED • Q: YOU STATED THAT YOU ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: YOU DIDN’T PRE-PLAN THE SHOOTING, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: THERE WAS NO INTENT AHEAD OF TIME TO KILL THE BOYS, CORRECT • A: YES

  39. Q: THIS CONFIRMS THE STATEMENT OF YOUR SPOUSE THAT YOU ACTED LEGALLY, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: SO, WHEN YOU WERE CONFRONTED BY THE BOYS, YOU ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE WHEN YOU REACHED UNDER THE COUNTER, PULLED OUT THE GUN AND SHOT THE BOYS, CORRECT? • A: YES

  40. Q: AND THAT GUN WAS PURCHASED LEGALLY, CORRECT • A: CORRECT • Q: AND AS YOUR SPOUSE STATED, YOU ACTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW, REGARDING THE GUN, CORRECT • A: YES • Q: HOWEVER, ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN STATEMENT, JUST NOW, YOU REACHED UNDER THE COUNTER TO RETRIEVE THE GUN

  41. A: CORRECT • Q: AND YOU SHOT THE BOYS IN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO A DIRECT AND IMMINENT THREAT, CORRECT • A: YES • Q: THIS MEANS THERE WAS NO TIME TO LOAD THE GUN IN THE FACE OF THIS THREAT, CORRECT • A: YES

  42. Q: THIS MEANS THE GUN MUST HAVE BEEN PRE-LOADED, CORRECT • A: YES • Q: WHICH VIOLATES THE LAWS REGARDING GUN USE, CORRECT, THAT A GUN AND ITS BULLETS MUST BE STORED SEPARATELY, CORRECT • A: ANSWER MIGHT BE YES OR NO TO THIS ONE, DOESN’T MATTER

  43. Q: WHEN PURCHASING A GUN, LEGALLY, IT IS MADE PERFECTLY CLEAR THAT THE GUN AND BULLETS MUST BE STORED SEPARATELY AND AS LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THE LAW, CORRECT A: ANSWER DOESN’T MATTER NOW Q: YET THE GUN WAS CLEARLY LOADED, IN ANTICIPATION OF ITS USE AND YOU WERE PLANNING TO USE IT, WEREN’T YOU

  44. SCENARIO # 3 - DON’T HOPE FOR ANSWERS • A YOUTH IS CHARGED WITH IMPAIRED DRIVING. YOUR DEFENSE IS THAT A SWERVE IN THE ROAD IS CAUSED BY A DOG RUNNING OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. A MAN HAD BEEN WALKING HIS TWO DOGS LATE AT NIGHT. ONE DOG’S NAME IS WHITEY, THE OTHER DOG’S NAME IS BLACKY. YOU WANT THE WITNESS TO TESTIFY THAT IT IS POSSIBLE THAT BLACKY RAN OUT AND THAT IT COULD HAVE DISTRACTED THE DRIVER LATE AT NIGHT.

  45. Q: YOU HAVE TWO DOGS CORRECT • A: YES • Q: AND THOSE DOGS ARE CALLED BLACKY AND WHITEY, CORRECT? • A: YES • Q: WHAT COLOUR ARE THOSE DOGS? (YOU ARE HOPING THE WITNESS SAYS BLACK AND WHITE, THE FACT SHEETS ONLY MENTIONS THEIR NAMES)

  46. A: LIGHT BROWN, ALMOST BLONDE • Q: THEN WHY DID YOU CALL THEM BLACKY AND WHITEY? • A: I LIKE THE NAMES.

  47. SCENARIO #4 –SETTING UP WITNESSES • A DOCTOR IS ACCUSED OF MURDERING HIS WIFE. THERE ARE NO WITNESSES AND HIS ALIBI IS WEAK. HIS WIFE WAS HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH HIS BEST FRIEND, ALSO A DOCTOR. HER BEST FRIEND IS A NURSE WHOSE OLD BOYFRIEND IS THE ONE WHO WAS HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH THE DOCTOR’S WIFE. SHE ACTS AS A WITNESS FOR THE DEFENSE. THE DEFENSE STRATEGY IS TO IDENTIFY OTHER SUSPECTS.

  48. CROWN WITNESS #1 – THE POLICE OFFICE • Q: YOU CAME TO AN EARLY CONCLUSION THAT THE DOCTOR WAS THE SOLE SUSPECT DID YOU NOT? • A: YES. • Q: YOU DIDN’T EVEN CONSIDER THE DOCTOR’S BEST FRIEND, WHO WAS HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH HIS WIFE, DID YOU? • A: NO • Q: IF SHE WERE TO BREAK OFF THE RELATIONSHIP, THAT WOULD LIKELY HAVE MADE HIM ANGRY, DON’T YOU THINK?

  49. A: POSSIBLY • Q: ANGRY ENOUGH TO WANT TO KILL HER, ISN’T THAT POSSIBLE? • A. MAYBE • Q: WOULDN’T THAT MAKE HIM ANOTHER SUSPECT? YES OR NO?

  50. CROWN WITESS #2 – THE BOYFRIEND OF THE DECEASED • Q: YOU WERE HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH DR. KIMBALL’S WIFE, WERE YOU NOT? • A: YES • Q: SHE TOLD YOU OF HER PLANS TO BREAK OFF THE RELATIONSHIP, DIDN’T SHE? • A: YES, BUT I DON’T THINK SHE MEANT IT. • Q: YOU ARE IN A BIT OF A FINANCIAL MESS ARENT’ YOU • A: YES