hostile witness

(redirected from hostile witnesses)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

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 ?
Calgary Status of Women Action Committee presenters Julie Black and Catherine Cruz reported that Cools and Jessiman, in particular "treated us as hostile witnesses. We were outraged to be so badly treated by a committee of public representatives."
Reyes' standard commentary on the RPC, held that "notoriously offensive" acts "must be directed at religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule"--but not one of the four hostile witnesses testified that the purpose of Celdran's act was ridicule.
Further coverage includes, for example, techniques and strategies for defending manufacturers, preparing clients to testify, cross-examination of hostile witnesses, and tips for how not to "screw up a good air crash case." The appendices provide an abundance of resource and reference materials.
The accused had recourse to various protections, including the right of confronting hostile witnesses, and could be released jusqu'a rappel (subject to rearrest).
Two more men, Paul Campbell and James Price, were allowed to be treated as hostile witnesses.
And there are many useful counter-examples on record, displaying the senator's solicitude toward even potentially hostile witnesses (a quality Ritchie admits).
Witnesses who are friendly and cooperative tend to provide objective and credible information, while hostile witnesses may bend the facts.
Maintain eye contact with hostile witnesses who are submissive.