12 Days of Christmas: Our Top 12 Tips for Giving Courtroom Testimony

The truth is in your hands! More than one million cases were held in magistrates’ courts in 2020 alone. Many of these cases involved expert witnesses who explained difficult concepts for jurors and magistrates. 

Your testimony can be the difference between acquittal and conviction. For you to make the most effective courtroom testimony and to ensure that justice is served, you need to follow a few steps. 

How should you behave in court? How can you answer questions and give accurate information? What should you never do while you are testifying?

Answer these questions and you can perfectly fulfil your responsibilities as an expert witness. So, here are 12 essential tips for testifying in court.

1. Review Courtroom Etiquette

Even if you are familiar with testifying in court, you should study courtroom etiquette before your testimony. It never hurts to have a helpful refresher. Try to sit in on a hearing that your judge or magistrate is running so you can understand how they conduct themselves in the courtroom. Take notes on what types of answers they like, and what they don’t.

Read a guide on what to expect coming to a court so you’re fully prepared. You can also ask for tips for testifying from a judge not involved in your case if you would like extra reassurance. 

2. Understand Your Legal Rights and Limitations

As an expert witness, you cannot offer your own opinion and claim it is fact. You must base your testimony on science that is generally well-accepted, and you must explain your methods and thought process during your testimony. 

You should talk to a barrister or solicitor so you know what answers you can and can’t give. If you’re nervous about violating the law or courtroom procedures, hire an expert witness preparation coach to train you. 

3. Study the Case

Gather as much information about the case as possible. Understand how your testimony will elucidate a confusing point or procedure. Document your own process of researching the case, the surrounding issues, and consider taking written notes you can introduce as evidence in the trial.

4. Dress Properly

You should wear formal attire before going to court. Wear full sleeves, comb your hair, and trim any facial hair. You can wear a coat if you’re feeling cold, but select one that will not clash with the rest of your outfit.

5. Take the Responsibility of Testifying Seriously

Being asked to testify as an expert witness is a serious responsibility. Avoid saying anything about the case to anyone besides your lawyer. 

If you feel you cannot give your testimony due to a conflict of interest or another shortcoming, tell the judge as soon as possible. You can be excused if you have a valid legal reason. Testifying while you have a conflict of interest can lead to a retrial or a delay.

6. Be Clear

Your testimony will be useless if the judge or jury cannot understand what you are talking about. Use simple language and keep your sentences as short as possible. Do not talk over anyone, especially when someone is objecting to a question.

Be as specific as possible with your answers. If you are answering a multi-part question, mention what part you are addressing before you give your answer. If you need to qualify your remarks, make the qualification and explain the factors that can affect your answer. 

7. Use Your Own Words

You can ask a legal professional for help and get expert witness training for yourself. But you should not answer questions based on what you remember from your conversations with others. You should always phrase your answers as you would phrase them in natural conversation. 

Do not nod or shake your head to a question. You should speak aloud and make your thoughts known so everyone can understand what you are saying.

8. Take a Moment to Think

You do not have to answer a question as soon as it is asked of you. Take a few seconds to think about what the best answer is and how you can phrase it properly. There is no rush in the courtroom. 

Take a deep breath so you are calm and not rushing to speak. You can also take a sip of water if you’re feeling thirsty or dry. This will help you with providing a clear and concise answer. 

9. Answer Questions Directly

You may be asked uncomfortable or difficult questions. Do not get emotional, and do not dodge the question you are asked. Give the most honest answer you can and ask for clarification if something seems confusing. 

10. Never Volunteer Information

Do not meander while you are answering a question. Stay on the subject and stop talking once you’ve stated everything that you think is helpful. Do not talk about a different subject, even if you think it would be helpful.

11. Do Not Exaggerate 

Exaggerating or overstating your conclusions can hurt your credibility and cause you to contradict yourself. If you are not sure of something, say that you are not sure. If you think a lawyer is twisting your words or exaggerating your position, mention that when you are answering a question.

12. Be Positive

Though you should avoid exaggerating, you should also put as much authority into your answers as possible. Avoid saying “I think” or “I guess.” Bring up statistics, scientific theories, and processes that corroborate your perspective, and refer to other facts brought up in the trial if you can. 

Deliver a Strong Courtroom Testimony

Before you deliver a courtroom testimony, you need to take some preparations. Study the case, talk to a legal professional, and get training so you deliver clear answers. Before you answer any question, think it through so you are using your own words. 

Never make guesses, exaggerate your information, or avoid answering questions. Give the full extent of your knowledge and acknowledge your limitations. 

If these tips are hard to grasp, you should get courtroom testimony preparation. Sytech Consultants helps businesspeople and professionals prepare for giving testimonies. Contact us today.

Nightmare Before Christmas: Make Sure Your Clients Data Is Protected This Festive Period

You could argue that the most overlooked essential business expense is cybersecurity. With attacks occurring every 39 seconds in the US alone, it’s important that we enter the new year with greater protection.

No matter what our plans are for the holidays, you still need to ensure your data is protected. Let’s talk about data protection over Christmas break.

Why Are Attacks a Concern Right Now?

Cyberattacks are always a concern, but did you know the holidays are the most common time of the year for data breaches? Cyberattacks surge during the holiday season every year, and small and medium-sized businesses are the prime target. So, why is that?

Small and mid-sized businesses are the most common targets for one simple reason; they’re the perfect fit for attacks. Think about it.

If you were a cybercriminal, you wouldn’t want to waste your time attacking random strangers’ personal accounts and hoping for the best. They may not have anything worth stealing.

Conversely, attacking a large company like Apple or the US government would have the highest potential reward, but the most security. This puts small and medium-sized enterprises in the “sweet spot” for attacks.

So, the only question is why the holiday season is such a busy time for attackers. While there are many potential reasons, the holidays are usually a golden opportunity for attackers with an increase in remote employees, a decrease in IT monitoring, extended server vulnerabilities, and more frequent transactions.

On top of that, many people are also more desperate around the holidays, making them more willing to commit crimes to make ends meet. This could result from shorter work hours, large family gatherings, unpaid time off, and more.

All of this makes the holiday season a perfect time for cybercrime. This is especially true for businesses that see an increase in sales this season, as that leaves more transactions to exploit.

How to Make Sure Your Data Is Protected

Remember that 60% of businesses fail within six months after a cyber attack. You don’t want to risk having to tell your customers and staff about a data breach, as this could devastate your business. Here’s how to protect data over the holidays!

Use a VPN

If you have employees traveling or working remotely during the holiday season, consider using a virtual private network or VPN. This is especially important on company devices. One compromised smartphone can destroy a business.

Moreover, this will ensure that your employees aren’t using too many variables in network security, which can prevent hackers from breaching your systems.

Secure Your File Sharing

Your file-sharing is another critical aspect, especially if some employees are remote. Data is most vulnerable during transport, so use a cloud-based system with two-factor authentication for the best results. It’s the easiest and safest way for employees to access and share files from anywhere.

Meet With Staff

Sit down with your staff and talk about the rising cyber threats during the holidays. You can have all of the security knowledge in the world, but it won’t matter if your staff doesn’t know how to keep your data safe.

Talk to them about best practices, encourage them to change passwords, and most importantly, teach them about phishing scams. Phishing, and other social engineering attacks, are when attackers use psychological manipulation to achieve a specific end goal. No matter who you are, you can fall victim to one of these.

We all know not to send the “prince” who’s “stuck” our life savings, but with the rise of deep-fake technology and sophisticated scamming techniques, employees may truly believe that a coworker is asking for something reasonable. If they don’t have the training to recognize the right flags and to report suspicious behavior, then your data is vulnerable to scams.

These conversations should include where to report potential threats, how to respond, and general best practices for protecting data. If you plan to use any new software (anti-malware, file sharing, etc.), make sure staff become familiar with it before working remotely.

Test Your Network

If you’re concerned about the security standards of your system, you can always try penetration testing. This will determine how secure your network is from potential hackers and help you close potential doors for them to enter.

Scan For Viruses

Christmas is the perfect time for antimalware scans. You should do these at least once a week across all of your devices. You can pick up malware from any site online, any file in your inbox, or really anywhere.

The only way to find out is to scan and remove potential malware before it becomes too big of a problem to manage.

Get the Right Help

Again, one of the major concerns is a lack of IT staff and system monitoring. If that’s the case for your organization, you need to find protection as soon as possible.

With the right help, you can see how your systems hold up to penetration testing. From there, cybersecurity experts can prescribe the right monitoring and response plan for your needs, as well as a detailed security strategy. Check out our cyber services to learn more!

Stay Secure

Now that you know how to ensure your data is protected this holiday season, put these tips to use right away. The longer you wait, the longer you remain at risk of disaster.

Stay up to date with our latest cybersecurity tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or for help with your security needs!


The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: 6 Things You Need To Do If You Suspect Someone Stole Your Customers Data

The Christmas period is a perfect time to perform a cyber-attack on your IT environment. Darktrace reported a 30 percent increase in the average number of ransomware attacks over the holiday period compared to the monthly average. Therefore, it’s vital you stay extra vigilant during this period. But what should you do if you suspect someone has stolen your customers’ data?

Step 1 – Communication: If you suspect you have had customers data stolen, the first step is to make sure the relevant parties are informed within your business. This may include your IT Manager, Senior Managers, Data Protection Officer and Security Operations Centre. 

Depending on the extent of the breach, you will have 72 hours from identifying the breach, to report it to the Information Commissioner Office (ICO). A full investigation is not expected within this time frame,  they will allow you to provide information in phases. It’s important at this stage to make sure a log is kept of all actions taken so that they can be included within the report. 

Step 2 – Containment: To prevent the attack from spreading further into your network, the immediate action will be to contain the incident by isolating compromised devices from your network. This may also involve isolating entire parts to your network if a particular office or department is affected. 

Step 3 – Investigation and Removal Of Threats: Now that the affected devices have been contained, you will need to have the devices examined to determine the extent of the attack including: 

  • What data has been stolen?
  • If the attacker can still access your IT network?
  • How was the attacker able to gain access? 

Any threats that could allow the attacker to regain access to your network will then be removed. 

We know that time is of the essence in these situations. By choosing SYTECH, you will get undivided attention and focus with the best customer care from the moment you first contact us, until the incident is fully resolved.

Step 4 – Submit A Report: Once the investigation is completed and depending on the results, you will need to submit a full report to the ICO. Not all incidents need to be reported though. You can use the self-assessment tool on the ICO website to see if a report is required. 

Step 5 – Recovery: Now that the investigation has concluded, you can now start the recovery process to restore functionality to your business. Ideally, you will have backups of your data which will allow you to carry on where you left off. Once you have your systems back online, you should test and monitor each device to ensure there is still no threat. 

Step 6 – Security Improvements: The final step is to review the incident, so that you can apply additional security to prevent a similar incident in the future. This can involve:

  • Installing security patches
  • Physical security improvements
  • Changing passwords
  • Staff awareness training
  • Install monitoring software

Although your IT environment is now secure, threats are ever evolving. Once improvements have been made to your systems, it is vital to continue monitoring for threats and making an effort to constantly improve your security and keeping staff aware of the dangers.