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material witness

n. a person who apparently has information about the subject matter of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution which is significant enough to affect the outcome of the case or trial. Thus, the court must make every reasonable effort to allow such a witness to testify, including a continuance (delay in a trial) to accommodate him/her if late or temporarily unavailable.

See also: material  trial  witness 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications