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THE RELIABILITY OF EYE WITNESS TESTIMONY





INTRODUCTION:

An “Eyewitness” is a person who has seen something happen and is in a state of giving a first-hand description of it. When speaking in terms of Law, Eyewitness Testimony is that when a person witnesses a crime, or an accident, or anything of legal importance, and later can stand and recall for the court all the details of the witnessed event.


Basically, In Eyewitness Testimony, the person who was present at the place where the crime, or accident, or important legal event happened, can describe the event to the court what he witnessed is called eyewitness testimony. It becomes important while proving something to the court.


WHO IS AN EYEWITNESS IN INDIAN LAW?


According to Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, there are two main forms of witnesses:


  1. Testimony [Statement of Witness]

  2. Evidence [Documentary Evidence]

Eyewitness testimony is included in Section 3 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act. Sworn testimony of considerable probative value under Indian law.


In the case of Madhu Madhuranatha V. Karnataka State, the witness was determined to be a person who can provide information through oral or written testimony through court or other means. Generally speaking, if a witness is not acting under coercion, fraud, or improper means, he is considered independent.


Article 118 of the Indian Evidence Act stipulates that everyone should have the right to testify in court unless they are released because of their disability. For example, lunatics cannot testify.


IMPORTANCE OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY IN INDIA:


According to Indian law, the role of witnesses is vital to the judicial process and the maintenance of justice in the judicial system. Essentially, the role of witnesses plays a role in the initial trial, creating a platform for the entire case before the trial begins. According to Article 164 of the Chinese Communist Party, all testimony will be recorded as evidence. The statement is recorded after the oath, followed by a three-stage process, including main inquiry, cross-examination, and re-interrogation of witnesses.


is like Vikas Kumar Rourkela to Uttarakhand and Ors. It was discovered that the Supreme Court is investigating the role of witnesses in the criminal justice system. In the same case, the Supreme Court also ruled those legislative measures to protect witnesses contributed to a fair trial.


MAJOR FLAWS / DRAWBACKS OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY:


Testimony plays an important role in injustice, but it also has some shortcomings that make it an unreliable source of evidence in many cases. A survey conducted under British law found that inaccurate testimony led to more than 75% of inappropriate judgments. The same applies to the Indian legal system, where inappropriate judgments are passed every year.


The witness statement was affected by several factors that affected its accuracy. Witness identification is mainly affected by the following factors:


  1. At the crime scene or under extreme pressure during the identification process.

  2. Fear or worry about guns at the scene.

  3. The offender used masks, wigs, or other clothing.

  4. Any racial differences between the witness and the suspect.

  5. Short interrogation time for witnesses during the execution of criminal offenses or identification procedures.

  6. Notification of non-compliance.

  7. No specific characteristics of the suspect, such as tattoos, markings, etc.



THE UNRELIABILITY OF EYEWITNESSES:


Many factors affect the testimony. Although it plays an important role in judicial administration, several factors affect the observation of eyewitnesses and make it unreliable.


  1. High-pressure environment

Whether he is a victim or not at the crime scene, this person is under high pressure. The high level of stress puts our mind and body in survival mode, and the human mind is for our survival rather than focusing on the attacker. Due to the stressful environment, people's ability to observe events closely and remember them later decreases. Sometimes people even feel numb because they are victims, which reduces their observational power.


2. Psychological trauma


Trauma can cause psychological shocks to victims and witnesses, thereby reducing the accuracy of observation. Any traumatic situation can lead to shocks such as murder, rape, assault, or robbery. This kind of behavior can cause a person psychological trauma. Psychological trauma has a profound effect on people’s consciousness, and the victim or witness may distort the actual perpetrator of the crime. When witness testimony is recorded, the accuracy of such testimony may be poor.


3. Human memory


The human brain divides memory into several parts. Even if we are walking on the street, the human brain can hardly remember all the details. Our brain records information in bits and then fills in missing details. In addition, during a police investigation, when a witness is asked to provide detailed information, the brain cannot remember the exact details and fill it out by itself, which often leads to misidentification of the defendant. ...


Another aspect of this factor is that human memory begins to deteriorate over time. Over time, the memory gradually disappeared and began to break into pieces. Usually, when remembering lost souvenirs, the brain will explain itself, which can lead to misidentification and misunderstanding.


4. Delays in judicial proceedings in India


Delays in legal proceedings are common in India. Over time, human memory will deteriorate, thereby reducing the reliability of witnesses. Lead to false beliefs. In this case, Daya Singh v. Haryana, the defendant was arrested in the state in 1988, but during the identity verification parade, the defendant refused to participate, so the witness identity verification was carried out 8 years after the incident.

This delay may result in serious legal errors and unreliability of witnesses.


5. False witnesses or forced witnesses


False witnesses are also often used to mislead the court. In addition, witnesses are often involved in cases of excessive stress, fear, or influence. Sometimes the parties involved false witnesses. Only in disputes with the intent to illegally convict other parties. The testimony of these eyewitnesses can also lead to inappropriate convictions and judicial errors.

CONCLUSION:


Witness testimony plays a fundamental role in court proceedings and in determining the fate of the defendant during the trial. However, there are many unreliable factors and often lead to misjudgments.


Completed the inadmissibility of forensic examinations in the cases reviewed by the court, and based on eyewitness testimony and other evidence, but the fate of the case first. Condemnation of the innocent. The cases based on testimony alone are more likely to be improperly convicted. In some cases, the factor leading to its failure is the cause of its failure.


The accuracy of DNA or forensic reports is more reliable than testimony because eyewitnesses are often misleading, but there will be subtle changes in forensic reports because they are inaccurate. Factors such as memory impairment, failure to follow advice, psychological shock and trauma, and many other factors can cause testimony to become unreliable. This makes it a gateway to misjudgment. If a person is wrongly convicted, it will lead to unfair justice.

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