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Developing A Support Plan

As a witness, you may want to prepare for your time in court. You may need to arrange for childcare, transportation or time off work.

It is also recommended that you bring refreshments (including water) and an activity such as a book or deck of cards since you may have to wait to testify. Dress comfortably but conservatively to show respect for the court, as it is a formal setting. If you are attending Supreme Court, the dress code is more formal and you should ask the lawyer or your support worker about the requirements.

To make sure you are prepared for your day in court, keep all your documents in one envelope and in a safe place. You may also want to put together a list of important names and dates that you can bring with you for reference.

Review for yourself what you remember of the crime before you arrive at the court but don’t ask your friends, family or other witnesses to refresh your memory of events.

Bringing a Support Person

You may bring a friend, family member or other support person to Crown meetings or to court with you, if you think you need support. If no one is available, your Victim Service Worker may be able to provide someone to accompany you. Your support person should not be someone who is also required to testify. You must be careful not to discuss your testimony with anyone, including your support person, before you have been called to testify or before any other witness has testified.

If you Feel Threatened

Remember that you are likely to see the friends and family members of the accused in the courtroom and throughout the courthouse, including the washrooms. If you are threatened by anyone in the courthouse in any manner, tell Crown counsel, the sheriff, or a police officer immediately.

Claiming Expenses

In some cases, witnesses may be able to claim expenses for travel and/or childcare. To find out more about these claims, you can contact the Witness Notifier in Crown counsel’s office (listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory or through Enquiry BC at 1-800-663-7867). A contact number is usually on the subpoena or notice from the Crown’s office.

Did You Know?
Employers must give witnesses time off work to go to court and to meet with the police or Crown counsel, at their request, regarding the case. However, employers do not have to pay you for that time. Although it is not required by law, some employers do not deduct for this time. You should check with your employer or union representative to find out what the rules are where you work.


Important Reading

  • Courtprep.ca, a site designed for youth can also help adults prepare for court and develop an info pack for planning purposes. Find it here.

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