Supporting witnesses in criminal proceedings and committees of inquiry
Supporting witnesses in criminal proceedings
According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness is evidence in criminal proceedings. A proceeding can stand and fall with his statement.
In addition to the obligations of the witness–- such as the obligation to make truthful statements–- the code of criminal procedure also recognizes rights and norms that protect victims. This includes, in particular, that the witness may use an adviser. It is usually not possible as a layperson to penetrate complex criminal matters or to understand the procedural situation. This applies not only, but also in particular, to proceedings in the area of white-collar crime.
There can be many reasons for being represented by an attorney as a witness in criminal proceedings. Early representation, even during the preliminary investigation, can be advantageous here in order to avoid disadvantageous decisions.
As a witness, you do not have to incriminate yourself or your relatives (Section 55 StPO). Questions relating to personal life may also not have to be answered (Section 68a of the Code of Criminal Procedure). We advise you on the possibilities of refusing to testify and the dangers of making a false statement in court.
If you are the victim of a crime, you have a variety of participation rights. You can also make claims for damages and compensation for pain and suffering in criminal proceedings.
Representing victims in criminal proceedings
If you have become a victim of a crime, you have several options to appear in criminal proceedings. In addition to giving testimony, you can in many cases take part in criminal proceedings as a joint plaintiff and actively participate in the proceedings through your attorney, for example by submitting requests for evidence.
In addition to legal assistance, there are many instruments for victim support, such as psychosocial support. We would be happy to advise you on this.
In addition, claims for damages and compensation for pain and suffering can be made inexpensively in criminal proceedings in the adhesion process. The Code of Criminal Procedure also provides for victim compensation measures. As a victim, it is important to find out about your rights and compensation options at an early stage.
Supporting witnesses before parliamentary committees of inquiry
H2W has expertise in supporting witnesses before parliamentary committees of inquiry.
Witnesses also have various procedural rights before committees of inquiry; information can also be refused under certain circumstances.
Unlike in court, the witness may not only face a panel with a manageable number of people, but also panels with a large number of people who regularly pursue their own (political) interests.
In addition, proceedings before committees of inquiry are often followed with great interest by the media. Witnesses are therefore particularly exposed in such proceedings.
Early advice from an attorney enables you to be optimally prepared for your testimony before a committee.