At some point in your case, you may be asked by your lawyer to produce several character witnesses. A character witness is someone who testifies in court on your behalf. This witness testimony is usually to the effect that you have a reputation for honesty and integrity and that you are not someone who is likely to have engaged in the alleged criminal behaviour. Evidence from character witnesses may be compelling enough in and of themselves to raise a reasonable doubt and destroy the Crowns case. Asking the right people to testify on your behalf, therefore, is important. For maximum impact, it is recommended that you have a minimum of three character witnesses in order to make a strong impact on the court.
Here are some factors to consider when asking people to come forward as character witnesses:
1. The witness should not have a criminal record.
2. You should have known the witness for several years.
3. The witness should be part of your social circle and know others who know you.
4. The witness should be someone you believe is willing to help you; is willing to testify in court; will come to court on time; and will present him or herself well in court.
5. The witness should be someone you have told about your case.
6. The witness should be someone who can attest to your reputation for truthfulness, honesty, and integrity.
7. The witness should be someone who can attest to your reputation (or lack thereof) for improper (criminal) behaviour.
8. The witness should be willing to meet with your lawyer.