The relationship between prosecutor and prosecution witness is a strange, and occasionally fraught one. Witnesses often see me as "their" lawyer, present in court for the sole purpose of helping them get that nasty neighbour sent down, or whatever it happens to be.
This is rarely the fault of the witness, who may have been told that I am their lawyer, who may have been asked for a Victim Impact Statement, or who may have been given the Victim's Code publication setting out "minimum standards of care" they can expect.
Of course, those who have been the victims of crime need to be taken seriously, and treated with dignity and respect, and I am all in favour of promoting that, but I am not "their" lawyer. I am the prosecutor, and I am there to prosecute on behalf of the state.
It has been said that prosecutors never win or lose cases; we simply present the evidence. It is up to the tribunal to accept or reject that evidence. If I make a good opening speech, ask the right questions, and can get the witness to come up to proof, then I've done my job. If that isn't enough to convince the tribunal, then the case might be crap, the tribunal might be asleep, or the defendant might be lucky, but in any event, the defendant is not guilty.
Anyway, the relationship with witnesses...the Justice Committee summed it up thusly:
"Telling a victim that their views are central to the criminal justice system, or that the prosecutor is their champion, is a damaging misrepresentation of reality. Expectations have been raised that will inevitably be disappointed."
I have seen a witness realise that I wasn't their champion -- when I asked for permission to treat them as hostile -- "disappointed" is a polite way of describing the look I got.
Full report here.