CROSS EXAMINATION: FIVE WONDERFUL TECHNIQUES TO APPLY DURING CROSS EXAMINATION TO EASILY DISCREDIT A WITNESS AND RENDER HIS TESTIMONY WEIGHTLESS

cross examination

Nizomlaw.com

CROSS EXAMINATION: FIVE WONDERFUL TECHNIQUES TO APPLY DURING CROSS EXAMINATION TO EASILY DISCREDIT A WITNESS AND RENDER HIS TESTIMONY WEIGHTLESS

Cross examination is the questioning of a witness by a party other than the party that called him after direct examination.

Cross examination has been described as the best tool to deducing the truth in a trail. Cross examination if properly conducted will go long way to determining the success of the party’s case. The importance of cross examination in a trial cannot be over emphasized and is indispensable. Trial without cross examination is like food without salt.

Successful cross examination is not about charisma and oratory, but about hard work and following simple tips. Preparing for cross examination is like preparing for a marathon. It is like preparing for a great task. To successfully carry out cross examination, the counsel must be abreast with the facts of the case. The more conversant the lawyer is with the facts of the case, the easier he can nail the witness to the cross of discredit.

Cross examination is like a ritual, it has a pattern which must be followed if the cross examiner desires success. For a successful cross examination, the following techniques must be observed strictly.

  1. Examine every document, transcript, email, and writing. here we are talking about any correspondence that passed through the parties in respect of the matter. Never as a lawyer restrict yourself to few information given to you by your client. persuade him to furnish you with more information. He is not a lawyer and thus may not know the wait of every information. Elicit all the necessary information from him/her. Go extra mile but within the bounds of the law in sourcing for relevant information to help your case.
  2. List the available evidence on every subject and cross reference each source. Be a master of all the information you have. Arrange them, put each evidence in its place of relevance and work assiduously to achieve your target goal with the information.
  3. Prepare detailed sequences of questions for each fact to be proven                                                               Hours of work go into composing a single line of questioning, but the benefits are overwhelming. By the day of the cross, the lawyer knows the facts better than the witness and knows exactly what to do if the witness gets off track or attempts to deceive. After gathering the facts, it is time to draft the questions for the witness.

Three simple rules apply:

(1) Ask only leading questions
Leading questions simply state a fact with an implied question mark at the end. Questions that begin with “how,” “what,” “when,” “why,” or “where” are the hallmark of non-leading questions and should be avoided at all costs.

(2) Establish exactly one fact per question
Compound questions, such as “you saw the blue car approach the intersection on January 15”, are the enemy of clarity. This is a very useful technique .

(3) Ensure each question leads to a specific goal
Purposeless questioning is a waste of time and an opportunity for the witness to score points. Ask relevant and target oriented questions. Do not throw questions because you can, but rather throw questions because they are relevant to the success of your case.

Onuorah Chibuzor Michael by name, born 11th September,1990, From Anambra state, Nigeria

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