hostile witness

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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 ?
The classic advice regarding hostile witnesses such as these is to cut their answers short and make a formal objection to the judge.
Various psychological concepts are discussed to help the interviewer recognize and head off defense mechanisms used by uncooperative or hostile witnesses.
An element of the squad's success has been the consistent ability to identify, locate, and secure valuable testimony from previously unknown or hostile witnesses.
A source book should be developed on hostile witnesses as well.
Special emphasis is given to deposing hostile witnesses, something that LAPD detectives and officers face in the course of their investigations.
Sodhi says " Prosecution of hostile witnesses in cases like the Jessica Lall murder and Best Bakery case has sent shivers down the spine of witnesses in many cases involving high- profile accused and the result is for all to see.
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.