Individuals who can provide insight into a case are referred to as witnesses. Such individuals render testimonies that are relevant to the ongoing court case. A witness gives this testimony on a witness stand by answering questions asked by the legal counsel of either the prosecution or the defense. A summary of a witness testimony is referred to as a witness statement.
A witness testimony can serve different purposes, depending on the goal of the legal defense that solicited the witness. It can be a statement that correlates with the case of either the defendant or the plaintiff, or an opinion that may substantiate a claim made by the defense or the prosecution. A witness testimony can also be used to provide a character reference when the character of one of the litigants is in question. The witness statement is a brief summary of such testimonies. However, in some cases where small claims are involved, the witness statement can replace the witness testimony.
A witness statement can be drawn up as a legal document called an affidavit. This is a formalized recording of the testimony of a witness. The document is a written account of what insight the witness has to offer regarding the case, it is then notarized by an attorney. It is also possible to have a witness statement on a recording, whether audiovisual or just auditory. The purpose of the witness statement is to ensure the integrity of the witness testimony as well as to provide a preview or brief description as to what the witness testimony may be about.