The police are investigating the shoplifting

Course of the criminal proceedings

Hearing of witnesses

An initial hearing of witnesses usually takes place at the police station. You will receive a summons from the police for this. Although there is no legal obligation to comply with this summons, please consider: As a victim or injured party, you are a particularly important witness, on whose help the police and public prosecutor depend. Even if you did not observe the crime yourself or do not know the perpetrator, you are most likely to be able to provide information about the course of the crime and the consequences of the crime.

Before your hearing of a witness, you will be instructed about your rights and obligations as a witness: Among other things, you do not have to answer questions that would incriminate you or a family member (right to refuse to provide information). You will also be admonished to tell the truth and informed about the consequences of making false statements.

Please do not take this instruction as a mistrust, because it is for your protection and is required by law.

With the consent of the clerk, you can bring a relative, another person you trust, a psychosocial counselor or a lawyer to accompany you to your witness hearing; only people who are or can be witnesses in the same matter should generally not be present at your interrogation.

The police are not allowed to give you a copy of your recorded testimony. If you use a lawyer, he or she can apply to the public prosecutor to inspect the files.

You can also submit your testimony in writing. If the public prosecutor's office summons you to question a witness, you are obliged to comply with this summons.

The police, the public prosecutor's office and the court must pay particular attention to the vulnerability of victims in their investigations and the taking of evidence.

Under certain conditions, for example, when specifying personal details, it is sufficient to provide a summonsable address, the place of residence does not have to be specified. In the case of children as victims of sexual offenses and in other cases with a special need for protection, video interrogations can be carried out, which may then make it unnecessary to testify during the court hearing. Another possibility is the exclusion of the public during a testimony in court.