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After You Testify

After you have finished testifying, the trial may continue with other witnesses.

Here are some tips to help you after you have given your evidence:

  • remember not to discuss the evidence with anyone until the case is completed. You may need to testify more than once,
  • once all of the evidence has been given, you are allowed to listen to the arguments made by counsel for the Crown and for the defence. In a jury trial you may listen to the arguments as well as the judge’s summary of the evidence and instructions to the jury
  • when the judge or jury has listened to all the witnesses from both sides, they will decide if Crown counsel has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person is guilty of the offence
  • the judge may not make a decision right away. If the case is long and difficult, he or she may take several days or weeks to decide
  • when the judge makes the decision, you may be present in the courtroom if you choose to be. Discuss this with Crown counsel
  • remember, if the accused is found "not guilty", that does not mean the police, attorneys or the judge did not believe what you said. Other evidence or the arguments by counsel may have left a doubt in the judge or jury’s mind. In our system, the benefit of the doubt goes to the accused
  • if the judge decides that the accused is guilty, the judge will also decide on the consequences the guilty person will face
  • you may be asked if you want to provide victim impact information for the sentencing hearing to tell the court how the crime has affected you
  • do something calming and relaxing for yourself after the trial is finished. Try to establish a normal routine as soon as possible following a trial. Take care of yourself and ask for help if you need it.

For More Information Try

For more detailed information about what happens to the offender after sentencing, read Keeping Canadians Safe: Information Guide to Assist Victims.

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