A witness statement is a legal record of the testimony a person gives to police, a judge or attorneys, which is signed by the witness to confirm the statement as true. When a person gives a witness statement, it helps attorneys in that case prepare arguments, either for the defence or prosecution. Therefore, if a person wishes to change their witness statement, they should immediately contact the legal representative who documented it.
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Contact the person who took your statement. If you gave your statement to a law enforcement officer or an attorney, you must contact that person to correct the document before it is used in legal proceedings. Law enforcement officers need truthful information to conduct a well-rounded investigation.
Explain the changes. It is important to be truthful when issuing a statement and even more so when correcting or changing a statement. The officer or attorney taking the change should note the reason you changed your statement if the statement has already been filed with the court.
If you have an attorney, make sure she is aware of the change. Attorneys rely on witness statements to prepare their arguments in court proceedings. If you supplied the change to a police officer, make certain you warn and advise your attorney or the attorney representing your party.
Tips and warnings
- Do not wait until you are in a court of law to change your witness statement. Changing a statement before court proceedings decreases your chance of prosecution for such penalties as perjury.
- Changing a witness statement will call your credibility as a witness into question. Make certain you give accurate, detailed information along with a reason for the change to make your testimony more sound. Never sign a witness statement that is untrue.
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