If you do not feel optimistic about your chances of fighting a criminal charge, the prosecution turning up a witness can feel like the nail in your coffin.
Let’s get one thing clear — the prosecution does not want you to think you can succeed. They want you to roll over and accept whatever deal they offer so they can go home with another “victory” in their pockets. Yet there is always hope, even when a witness says they saw you.
Not all witnesses are reliable
The prosecution may know their witness is weak. That does not mean they won’t give them a try. Here are some of the ways you can challenge a witness:
- Their vision: Witness X has worn glasses all his life. He says he saw you out the window while in the shower. If he were showering with glasses on, the lenses would have steamed up. If he could see you clearly without glasses, then why does he wear them?
- Their memory: Witness Y is 83 years old and lives with Alzheimer’s. She needs help around the house because she once forgot she had left the gas ring on and almost burnt down the house. Can you trust her when she recalls seeing you?
- The lighting and distance, and amount of time: If someone sat face to face with you for an hour, in broad daylight, they would probably recognize you. If a witness glimpsed someone running away on the other side of an unlit street, they are less believable.
- The influence of others upon them: The police must take great care when questioning witnesses or conducting lineups to ensure they do not influence the outcome via verbal or non-verbal clues.
There are many ways to fight criminal charges and many ways to challenge the credibility of a witness statement. Finding the appropriate method will be crucial to defending your liberty.