I had to give a witness statement today for an incident that happened whilst at work, involving three people from outside of the company. Obviously I cannot really say what this was (it isn’t anything too exciting, trust me) but it provided my thoughts for the day. This incident happened a couple months back however it was only this afternoon that I was required to give a statement, this was tricky because I then had to recall that one day despite my memory of it fading.
Here is a video about eye-witness testimony that I have literally just found whilst typing ‘flaws in eye witness testimony’ in YouTube.
I was required to give details about what the individuals were wearing. What they sounded like. How tall and what kind of build they had. Their hair colour. I admitted that I cannot recall too much anymore and that it is mostly guesswork. She understood this completely. However now I have provided a witness statement that may have big inaccuracies, unintended of course.
Like dreams and any memory we have, remembering them can portray a completely different picture than it did when first experienced. I may have a memory from childhood of riding a skateboard as I watched a horse escape from a field on a rainy day. The next time I rethink this memory, I might forget it was a skateboard and think I was on a scooter instead. I may forget it was a horse and think it was a cow. Before I know it, I have a memory as a child of riding my scooter when a cow escaped a field on a sunny day. The whole scene has changed and I still remember this as clear as day. Or so I believe. This is the problem with eye- witness testimony. To rely on humans to rethink what happened on a certain day is very flawed. Our brains are amazing, but not good enough to accurately revisit a previous date as well as CCTV can. I wouldn’t be surprised if every eye witness testimony of the same incident varied wildly, yet eye witness testimony may be the difference between being a free citizen or spending a lot of time behind bars. A pretty crazy thing to consider.
I guess my advice here would be stay out of trouble. But then again, if something happens near you and the eye witness remembers your description more than the offender, you may get screwed over anyway. I guess I shouldn’t complain about how many CCTV cameras there are in the UK. I am sure it is a blessing in disguise.