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When witnesses provide identical or near-identical evidence in court, it should be regarded with extreme suspicion. It could be an indication that the witnesses have colluded in order to secure a wrongful conviction.
As criminal defence solicitors, we are highly aware of such tactics. We specialise in criminal defence law and can ensure that you are not wrongfully convicted. Contact us now for free legal advice. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Almost identical witness accounts
If two people witness the same incident, then it seems likely that they will give similar accounts of what they saw. Similar – yes. But identical – no. Everyone remembers things differently. Some people will notice certain details, yet these will be overlooked by others. People will be standing in different locations; they will see different things and hear different things.
It is, therefore, very strange when two or more witnesses provide perfectly matching statements. In fact, in a scientific paper called “Too good to be true: when overwhelming evidence fails to convince”, Gunn et al. conclude that the probability of a perfect agreement between witnesses is almost zero.
Reliability of evidence
So, where key phrases are repeated in multiple witness statements, it may well indicate witness collusion. This collision could take place between the witnesses themselves, or between another party, such as a police officer directing the taking of such statements.
This is precisely what happened in the case of Wake v Johnson. A table was produced in court showing the similarities in the accounts given by witnesses. This led the Judge to conclude that: “the reliability of the evidence…is highly questionable; the circumstances strongly suggest to me that there has been an unsatisfactory degree of liaison between these witnesses.”
In the case of AA v London Borough of Southwark, three council employees (known as ‘officers’) were found to have wrongfully evicted a tenant from his home. The judge concluded that the officers “attempted a cover-up of what happened when they each gave evidence.” This was apparent from their statements, which “were produced in very similar terms”.
As criminal defence solicitors, we are trained to spot any attempts to present false evidence to the court. We will expose this to the Judge and jury, ensuring you are not wrongfully convicted.
Call us now on 0333 009 6275. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.