Witness Tips - After Court

You made it through the challenge of testifying!  Congratulate yourself for a job well done!  Now you can do something calming and relaxing.

After You Testify

  • The trial may continue with other witnesses.  Remember not to discuss your evidence with anyone until the case is completed. tooltipIf you testified at a preliminary hearing, you may need to testify at the trial at a later date.
  • After listening to all the witnesses, the judge will decide if the Crown prosecutor has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person is guilty of the offence.
  • If the trial is by a jury, then the Judge will tell the jury how to consider the evidence they have heard. tooltipAll members of the jury will meet until they are in complete agreement.

Guilty or Not Guilty

  • Unless the judge or the jury believes for certain (beyond a reasonable doubt) that the accused person broke the law, the judge must find the accused 'not guilty'
  • A 'not guilty' verdict means the accused person is free to go.  It does not mean the police, attorneys or the judge did not believe what you said.  There may not have been enough evidence to convict the person.
  • If the evidence shows that the accused person is 'guilty', the judge will also decide on the consequences that person will face. tooltipThis may be done at a sentencing hearing and may take another few weeks.
  • If you choose, you may be present in the courtroom when the judge announces the sentence. tooltipYou should tell the Crown prosecutor if you want to be there.
  • You can talk with the Crown prosecutor if you have any questions about what the judge has decided.
  • The Crown prosecutor may ask if you want to write a Victim Impact Statement.  It is your opportunity to tell the court in your own words, how the crime has affected you.  The judge will consider your statement in deciding the sentence. tooltipEach province has a Victim Impact Statement form and guidelines on how to write a statement.
  • You can review the Victim Impact Statement resource on our website for some ideas and suggestions as well.

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Canadian provinces and territories fund programs for victims of violent or interpersonal crimes.  Some provinces and territories provide financial compensation to victims for personal injuries and emotional harm.  Others, provide victims access to emotional support and safety services that they would perhaps not be able to afford.

Note: Many of the Canadian courts have a Victim Witness Assistance Program.  You can check our Provincial and Territorial Links for services available or call a courthouse in your area.

The Justice Canada Victim Services Directory has links to many services across Canada for victims of crime.  You can click on this link to find a program in your community.