If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, this means that the police and prosecution have at least some evidence against you. Importantly, this does not automatically mean that you are guilty of any crime.
Evidence comes in many forms, and eyewitness testimony has long been regarded as critical to a case – but eyewitnesses aren’t infallible.
Memory doesn’t work like a video camera
It’s easy to think of the memory as being like a video camera, recording information and being able to play it back on demand. This is simply not how the memory works though. Memories are reconstructed rather than replayed.
When asked about a given situation, an individual will recall events and try to fill in any gaps. People don’t always get this right, especially months after the initial event. A criminal trial can take months or even years to come to fruition. During this time, the memory of a witness can become hazy, and they may reconstruct events that never happened.
Crimes are stressful events, and stress affects memory
If the crime in question was serious, the witness may have been traumatized at the time. Stress and anxiety have the ability to impair memory.
The witness knows that something terrible happened, they want someone to pay for the criminal actions, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got the right person. For justice to be achieved, criminal actions must be recalled as accurately as possible, and this includes identifying the correct individual who committed the crime.
If you believe that witness testimony is inaccurate in your case, then it’s important to challenge this in court. Seeking legal guidance will offer you the best possible chance at justice.