If the plaintiff’s attorney catches a witness in a lie at a medical malpractice deposition or at a trial, should he make a bid deal about it at that time or should he wait? There are different ways to address the issue of witness lying on the stand or at deposition. Several tactics and strategies are there to maximize the effect of witness lying during pretrial testimony or at the time of trial.
Example of a Witness Lying
Here is an example of what could happen at trial. Suppose the plaintiff’s lawyer gets a witness to make a statement that clearly contradicts something that he has said before. It is obvious to the lawyer that the witness is clearly not speaking the truth. The lawyer can bring this forward to the jury that there are inconsistencies in the witness’s testimonies. The witness has said something during his pretrial testimony, and now at trial he is saying something very different. Should the lawyer spend the next ten or fifteen minutes of the court’s time in simply pounding the witness in order to show the jury the witness has lied, or should the lawyer wait?
What is the Best Strategy?
One of the strategies of lawyers is to do absolutely nothing while they are questioning witnesses, and such a strategy could be effective. When the lawyer continues to hound a witness because of an inconsistency or something he lied about, then the lawyer is giving an opportunity to the witness to correct something that happened in the past.
The lawyer will be giving an opportunity to the witness to explain to the jury why he said what he did, and why it is inconsistent now to what he is saying. In an ideal scenario, no lawyer would want to give a lying witness the opportunity to rehabilitate something he has said before, which is contradicting something he is saying now.
A better practice would be for the lawyer to wait until the time, he makes closing arguments. During closing arguments, the lawyer can turn to the jury and point out the contradictory nature of the witness statement during his pretrial testimony and the statement he made at trial.
The best part is during closing arguments; the witness is not going to be on the stand to rebut what the lawyer is saying. The only thing that can be done is that the opposing lawyer will have to construct his closing argument in a way to show the jury that the inconsistency is not as significant as the other lawyer had made them out to be.
Credibility is Shot
This is one of the key strategies a lawyer could use to highlight to the jury that the particular witness has lied and therefore not to be trusted. By doing this the credibility of the witness will be totally shot in the eyes of the jury. If the witness was the key witness of the defense in the case, then the case can totally turn in favor of the plaintiff. However, this is one of the strategies, and has to be applied according to the situation and the strength of the case.