You all must have seen countless TV shows and movies in which a surprising witness enters at the eleventh hour of the trial to testify. It will surely spring a surprise, and that’s an unfair call.
Deposition and deposition testimony of witnesses is different from testimonies given in court. The purpose is to allow parties to know about all the facts related to the trial beforehand so that no one is surprised when the witness is called to stand the trial.
Deposition is an opportunity for the parties involved in the case to know about the weak points of their respective cases and find ways to avoid or rebut them at trial.
What is a ‘Deposition?’
A deposition is a question-and-answer session used in the pre-trial discovery process in a civil ‘lawsuit’. This is done to gain information regarding the case and get access to potential evidence that might be used by both parties. This process is taken under consideration when high-profile cases are taken up by the court. These depositions are entirely different from the deposition testimonies that are delivered in the court.
Overview of Discovery Process
Lawsuit consists of no restrictions on the parties involved to regulate discovery and a formal investigation. All the parties are allowed to have prior to the trial access to the case-related information, before the commencement of the trial. This helps the parties to come up with better strategies to face the trial. In a few cases, it may also lead to an agreed settlement between the opposing parties.
With the help of findings, they come to an agreement that is favorable for both parties. The information is gathered in multiple forms, however, being Subpoenas is found a general method for relevant documents and depositions. In this process, eyewitness’s testimony is taken before any trial, under the oath.
Nevertheless, depositions are not always required. The nature of the case rest on the circumstances related to it. Cases that revolve around legal issues, not factual, don’t require any kind of deposition. In these cases, witness testimonies and evidence aren’t required to make a decision.
However, in many cases, depositions have a great importance as it provides complete details about the events related to the case.
What are the ‘Deposition’ basics?
As mentioned earlier, deposition involves a human being who is mentally stable, who can answer all the questions. The main purpose behind deposition is to find out what piece of information is stored in witness, regarding the case. This is done to make sure that when the witness steps into the ‘witness box’, he/she doesn’t testify about anything unknown to both parties.
A deposition is a great opportunity for both parties to get a good grasp on the case and have a better understanding of it. When the trial begins, the parties should remember of who the witnesses would be, and what they’re going to testify ahead of the judge.
For example, if you’re aware that the statements that might be gone by the witness might threaten your facts, and that’s something you would want to know beforehand, because you’d not want yourself to be taken by surprise by listening to a harmful testimony from the witness.
The work procedure of ‘Deposition’
It is important to know that depositions don’t happen in courtrooms. Depositions are conducted in the attorney’s office. The attorneys are entitled to ask set of questions – related to the case and the events involved – to the witness or deponent. During the whole deposition process, a law reporter will be present to record the happenings word-to-word to keep every information intact. He will then produce the transcript later. The deposition can be videotaped as well, on account of the absence of a witness, or the deponent is suffering from an illness.
The deposition can last for about 15 minutes or even it could take five to six days to complete the process. It all depends on the case. In this process, attorneys ask questions from the deponent which are not usually allowed in the courtroom to gain an insight into the case. The attorneys representing the parties in deposition may raise questions to some investigation, but the deponent is responsible to provide answers during the interrogation. Deponents must listen to the questions carefully, and answer them precisely.
Depositions should be taken seriously. What statements do deponents or witnesses make, are considered important. Remember that witnesses are under affirmation, and any untrue declaration or manipulation can lead to major civilian and culprits punishment.
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