LEADING questions are those put to a witness in court by a lawyer.
They have a very specific role and are only allowed at certain stages of a trial. So what does leading mean in court?
Que signifie diriger devant un tribunal?
When a lawyer or someone else suggests answers to the witness in the form of a question, that is called leading the witness.
An example of this would be as follows: “Isn’t it true, Madame. Forgeron, that the moment you saw the tall figure sprinting from the house, you instantly thought it was Bobby?"
The answer would require a yes or no answer.
Leading questions therefore allow the lawyer to provide testimony under the cover of asking questions.
This is instead of encouraging or compelling the supposed witness to provide his or her own testimony.
Non-leading questions and leading questions have stark differences when compared.
‘What colour was the car?’ Would not be a leading question.
But asking ‘and then you saw a red car, à droite?’ is a leading question.
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By encouraging witnesses to just agree, leading questions bias the answers.
Leading questions are not allowed during direct examination of a witness.
That is why the opposing lawyer is supposed to object.
But they are allowed during cross-examination of a witness.
Leading questions are also allowed when dealing with preliminary matters and when there is difficulty eliciting testimony from a witness.
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When a hostile or adverse witness is being questioned, leading questions are allowed, trop.
They ultimately allow lawyers to quickly cut through to paint a clearer picture of what a person witnessed.