Definitions (2)
Related Terms
1. Person who observes (witnesses) the signing (execution) of a legal document (instrument) and verifies its authenticity by putting his or her signatures on it. Certain legal instruments (such as deeds and wills) are valid only if properly witnessed by one or more competent witnesses.
2. Person who is called upon by the either side in a court case to testify or give evidence, and whose associated expenses are paid by the calling party. Such testimony or evidence may be given (1) orally in presence of a judge, (2) in the form of a sworn statement (affidavit), (3) via a live closed-circuit television, or (4) as a pre-recorded video.
Pre-recorded audio is only rarely admitted as evidence. During the court proceedings the witness is questioned first by the party who called him or her, to establish facts pertaining to the case (called direct examination). Then the opposing party questions the witness (called cross examination) on the matters raised in direct examination. The party which called the witness may question the witness again (called re-direct examination) on matters raised in cross examination and, thereafter, the opposing party too may question the witness (called re-cross examination) on matters raised in re-direct examination. Any person who refuses to attend a court when called as a witness, or refuses to answer a question during court proceedings is in contempt of court except where the question is overruled by the judge, or the answer may incriminate the witness.

Use 'witness' in a Sentence

There were no witnesses to the tragic fire that resulted in our warehouse being burnt down. Fortunately our insurance covered our losses.
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I saw the man kill the woman and I knew that nobody else had seen the terrible crime and that made me the only witness.
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In the courtroom the judge called to the stand the top witness who would decide this case for better, or for worse.
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