I hope for your sake that you never have to be cross-examined; it is never an easy or pleasant experience. Questions are often confusing and repetitive and it is difficult in the moment to determine exactly the right words to use. I have been required to give evidence on several occasions and have never enjoyed the experience.
There are however a few simple rules that can make life easier. For example, a witness should never use the term “never”. Never is a very long time and our memory is not perfect, particularly under pressure. Had Barry O’Farrell, received this advice he may not have lost his job.
I tend to think that Mr O’Farrell was being honest when he suggested that he had “never” received a bottle of Grange, but if he had not been so dogmatic and replied, for example, “I do not recall ever having been given a bottle of Grange”, he would not have been in the same predicament.
If you are likely to give evidence in the near future you should ask your lawyer about what to expect and how you should deal with questions as they arise.
If you would like to discuss the rules of giving evidence, you can contact our Scott Hall-Johnston, or one of the other lawyers at Beilby Poulden Costello, to discuss the other rules about giving evidence.