Task 1. Read the text.

Events in a trial usually happen in a particular order, but sometimes the judge may change it. The usual order of events has 6 steps.

Step 1. Selection of the Jury.

A jury consists of twelve ordinary people who are chosen from the Electoral Register (a list of people who can vote). Those people will listen to the evidence and pass a sentence.

Step 2. Opening Statements.

The lawyers for each side will give out their views on the case and present a general picture of the case. Everything the lawyers say is not evidence and it can't help prove the case.

Step 3. Presentation of Evidence.

All parties present evidence. The testimony of witnesses at trial is evidence. Physical exhibit (a gun or a photograph) is also evidence, but if the judge does not admit it, it is not evidence.

The written testimony of people who can not attend the trial may also be evidence.

But many things you will see and hear during the trial are not evidence. For example, what the lawyers say in their opening and closing statements.

During the trial the lawyers make OBJECTIONS to evidence of the other side or questions of the other lawyer. Lawyers may object to these things if they consider them improper under the laws of evidence. The judge decides if the objection was valid or invalid and if the evidence can be admitted or the question allowed. If the objection was valid, the judge will SUSTAIN THE OBJECTION. If the objection was invalid, the judge will OVERRULE THE OBJECTION. But the judge must not express his opinion of the case.

Each juror decides the importance of evidence or testimony and the CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES. The jury should take into account the witnesses' opportunity to observe the event, their memory, the reasons of the testimony, their prejudice. All these factors influence the credibility of witnesses.

Step 4. Instructions.

After presentation of all evidence, the judge gives instructions to the jury on the laws. Each juror will have a copy of instructions. All documents and physical exhibits will be sent to the jury-room where the jury will conduct deliberations on the verdict.



Step 5. Closing Arguments.

The lawyers in their closing arguments summarize the case from their point of view. They may discuss the evidence and the judge's instructions or they may comment on the credibility of witnesses. The arguments are not evidence.


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