How are testimony used in court

General information on the witness summons

Are witnesses summoned by the court, the public prosecutor's office or the criminal police Committedto obey this summons and ask the court about what they saw, heard or experienced, truthfully to answer. A false statement is punishable by law. This also includes the willful withholding of significant facts or the pretense of ignorance.

Witnesses are not uncommon heard several times, there

  • it must be checked whether there is a suspicion of a criminal offense and the circumstances of the offense must be ascertained (criminal police and / or public prosecutor's office),
  • The facts of a criminal act are only finally determined in the main hearing (judge).

In the main hearing have to Witnesses ask the (lay) judge, the public prosecutor, the defense counsel, the accused and any expert consultedanswer and thus make an important contribution to establishing the truth.

Note

Please always keep in mind that your testimony is often the only evidence for the court to establish the truth. Also, never forget that you too could find yourself in a situation where testimony in court can be very important to you.

Therefore, when making your statement, make a strict distinction between what you are sure to be from own perception know of all the other things you dated about Hearsay know what you only suspect or what they even do not know. Inform the court, the public prosecutor's office and the criminal police as well. This is crucial for the conclusiveness of a statement. Things that you only know from hearsay but are given as fact subconsciously become false evidence and could lead to a false testimony.

The courts, the public prosecutor's office and the criminal police (as well as the administrative authorities) are obliged to give witness to the existing ones Interrogation bans and to point out the right of refusal. Interrogation bans concern e.g. clergy with regard to confessional secrecy or officials with regard to official secrecy.

From duty to statement are witnesses entirelyfreedwhen they are in a lawsuit against Relatives should testify. From duty to Testimony in the main hearing are wholly exempted when they witness

Note

The adversarial interrogation, i.e. an interrogation without the presence of the accused, must usually be carried out by the witnesses or by the public prosecutor's officerequested become.

Further information on the "adversarial interrogation" can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

A right to refusal the testimony have witnesses when they

  • yourself or Relatives by the statement burden would
  • Member of a specific Occupational group and about information given to you in context became known with this function, should testify (e.g. psychiatrists, psychologists, mediators, lawyers, media workers) or
  • a statement about her Right to vote or to vote should submit.

Witnesses can answer individual questions also refuse if they

  • in order to yourself or Relatives an immediate and significant Financial disadvantage or expose themselves and their loved ones in a different way damage would
  • Victim of one Sexual offenses have become and get down to details of the act do not want to comment,
  • about your circumstances highly personal area of ‚Äč‚Äčlife or that of another person.

Danger

Even if you are exempt from testifying or have a reason to refuse, you must charge still obey and personally before the criminal police, the public prosecutor's office or in court appear.

A unexcused no-show as a witness can be punished with a fine of up to 1,000 euros and a reimbursement of costs or a demonstration by the police can be arranged.

A reason for prevention, e.g. illness or accident, must be reported to the court in good time (in writing or in person). The witness is only considered excused if the reason has been accepted by the court (confirmation). Employment or the assumption that nothing can be done to clarify the circumstances of the crime are generally not a reason for preventing.

Witnesses are entitled to reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs and, if necessary, to Witness fees. For this, the presence of the witness at the hearing must be confirmed by the judge on the summons. Further information on this can be found on the loading form.

The Witness fee can as

  • Lump sum or
  • Compensation for the actual loss of income or
  • Reimbursement of costs for an appointed representative (actual costs incurred must be proven in court)

be requested.

Witnesses who are unable to appear in court due to age, illness, frailty, stay abroad or other significant reasons can be heard using technical facilities (video).

Related Links

Legal bases

Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO)

For all personal designations, the selected form applies to both genders and thus corresponds exactly to the legal terminology of the Code of Criminal Procedure in this text (Section 515 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure).

Last updated: February 18, 2021

Responsible for the content: oesterreich.gv.at-Redaktion