hostile witness


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to hostile witness: adverse witness

Hostile Witness

A witness at a trial who is so adverse to the party that called him or her that he or she can be cross-examined as though called to testify by the opposing party.

The Federal Rules of Evidence provide that witnesses who are hostile, or adverse, can be interrogated through the use of leading questions.

hostile witness

noun adverse testifier, adverse witness, antithetical witness, challenger, contrary witness, disagreeing witness, dissenting witness, dissentious witness, dissident, harmful witness, opposing witness, turncoat, witness in opposition
Associated concepts: cross examination, leading questions

hostile witness

a witness expected to give testimony favourable to the examiner but who in fact begins to give testimony not only unhelpful to the case but directed against it. In general, a person called as a witness may not be cross-examined by the party calling him. However, where a witness in the examination in chief demonstrates hostility to the party who called him, that witness may, with the leave of the judge, be cross-examined by the party calling him. A witness is not to be regarded as hostile by reason only of the fact that he gives evidence unfavourable to the party calling him. This phrase has no technical meaning in Scotland, the advocate or solicitor being free to challenge a witness he himself has called, without the leave of the court.
References in periodicals archive ?
Her father Patrick Walsh was also declared a hostile witness after he told the court he could not recall making a written statement to Gardai.
com/1995-03-27/news/9503280021_1_kato-kaelin-hostile-witness-simpson-houseguest) hostile witness.
Mr Mainstone, who was granted permission to crossexamine Mr Haigh as a hostile witness, read back the initial statement he gave to police on June 6 in which he gave a detailed account of the assault.
O'Riordan, originally went on trial for murder last July, but he pleaded guilty to manslaughter after his girlfriend was declared a hostile witness.
David Boies, the lead lawyer for Hands and London-based Terra Firma, told US District Judge Jed Rakoff yesterday that he will call Wormsley as a hostile witness in the trial, which began this week.
The prosecution was so frustrated by Reyat's evasions that it applied to have him declared a hostile witness.
It should be a human right to ask to take such a test or to demand that a hostile witness do the same.
Lambertson was also surprised to discover that the defendant, General Crook, was a hostile witness, as were several of Crook's subordinates who had carried out the Interior Department's orders by arresting the Poncas.