hostile witness

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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
Plaintiff lawyers who handle employment cases have ample opportunity to cross-examine hostile witnesses. One common type of witness, the "agenda setter," is the CEO or another high-level employee whose authority is rarely, if ever, challenged.
The 13-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was declared a hostile witness by police after failing to co-operate with them.
The second is the hostile witness whose sole purpose is to attack the subject for ideological reasons.
The nature of the adversarial system can often make this happen in a way that I believe has not been commented upon previously; it is caused by the concept of the 'hostile witness'.
Most of Microsoft's rebuttal testimony - including the Redmond software giant's surprise decision to call a hostile witness, David Colburn of America Online - is predicated on the assumption that a merged Netscape/AOL changes everything.
There's even an interview with the Alliance's Patrick Moore, the Greenpeace director turned industry mouthpiece, who appears as a somewhat hostile witness.
As an admiring viewer put it: "The coverage of events by the two channels has been carefully balanced to give the viewers the impression that nothing was hidden from them, whereas all the news unfavorable to Yeltsin and his ukaz was being presented in a negative way." This was not the judgment of a hostile witness. Those are the words of Andranik Migranyan, a member of Yeltsin's presidential council, who knows what he is talking about.
Policemen, who claim they acted on the viral video, are worried that the complainant may become a hostile witness in the case, which means it might be thrown out of court in the absence of a complainant.
Hostile witness? See you in court, Duterte son tells Trillanes
"I welcome the filing of the libel case because it will be an opportunity to call Polong as a hostile witness, so he would be compelled to show his tattoo on his back to prove that he is a member of a Chinese triad drug syndicate," Trillanes said in a statement.
During the hearing, the prosecution also declared father of the maid as a hostile witness.