Understanding Narrative Form

Understanding Narrative Form

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Understanding Narrative Form
 
Either lawyer in a trial might raise an objection to a question if that objection were to lead the witness to provide an answer in a narrative form. This form of narration would involve the witness essentially relating a string of events as a story, instead of providing a clear and specific answer to a clear and specific question. For example, if a lawyer were to ask a witness, “
 
 
Could you tell us what happened on that night?” then the question might be objected to on grounds that it is a question asking for narrative, and not a specific, clear question designed to bring to light precise facts within the witness’s testimony. A better question might be, for example, “What did you see immediately when you arrived at the club that night?”, as this question is focused in on specific facts which the witness can provide, without dipping into narration.
 
 
If a witness begins to provide facts through narration instead of through specific questions, the immediate problem is that the other attorney involved in the case would not be given the opportunity to object to the individual questions which the other attorney asks, and as such, evidence might be introduced into the trial which never should have been introduced. 
 
 
Thus, narrative is not allowed on a more formal reasoning, regarding the conduct of a trial. But narration might also be problematic because it allows for the use of techniques which might obscure the direct facts.
 

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