Witness Statement Law and Legal Definition

A witness statement is a summary of the oral evidence that a witness will give at trial. The purpose of the witness statement is to set out the evidence of the witness. In some jurisdictions the witness statement serves as the actual testimony, and the trial will simply proceed to cross-examination. In other jurisdictions, the witness statement only serves as a "trailer" of the evidence to be given by the witness. A witness statement can be prepared in several ways. A witness can write out their version of events simply in their own words, then sign the statement, date it, and most likely have it notarized. Sometimes an attorney might write up a statement and then ask the witness to sign it. A witness statement can come in the form of a recorded statement, and the witness testifying its accuracy on the recording. Such a witness statement that is prepared for a court proceeding or made under oath is considered a formal witness statement. An informal witness statement usually isn't purposely prepared for use in a legal proceeding, such as an oral statement made at the time of the event.