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QLD Criminal Law Matter - Inconsistent Witness Statements Legal?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Tom Rogers, 19 October 2014.

  1. Tom Rogers

    Tom Rogers Active Member

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    I have 2 witness statements that don't match. Both claim to have seen alleged incident, but both put each other & themselves at different location at the alleged offence address. They also say different things.

    One witness is claiming to have done something that is not realistic at all (walk backwards over uneven ground up, step to paving around corner, then step through a small gateway approx 9 metres all up).The times have changed from the QP9. The Police Officer states seeing an object in different location to the complainant. Crime scene photos show a set of unknown boot prints. Crime weapon removed but its actual location is not specific.

    The Complainants waited 20 minutes to call police, but are claiming serious injuries. No ambulance.
    I've provided legal counsel with at least 8 pages of info.

    Any information about relevance under criminal law much appreciated.
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tom,

    What is your question here?
     
  3. Tom Rogers

    Tom Rogers Active Member

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    How can it be legal for the prosecution to supply evidence that is inconsisent?
    I have also been given another version of the alleged offfence that is different to the QP9, & both witness statements.
    Can the witnesses 'explain what they really meant' in the witness box or will they rely soley on their statement?
    ( I am becoming frustrated at the different version of events )
    Thanks, Tom
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    It is not a question of legality. Witness are supposed to tell/describe things as they saw them. They do not have to be consistent from a 'legal' perspective.

    It may help you if they are different and you can put holes in the prosecution's evidence :)
     
  5. Tom Rogers

    Tom Rogers Active Member

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    I have now been given a copy of the Qprime entries which are different again, so far that makes 5 different versions.
    At what point can these versions be considered perjury?
    Can the police/prosecution be made accountable for providing different versions?
     
  6. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Witnesses can make different statements from one another. They can also make different statements from their previous statements. This is because the statements are the witness' own account of what happened, from memory.

    If they are different, then that is a credibility issue. You should bring that up in court to undermine the Prosecution's version of events, if the Prosecution intends to rely on any or all of these witness statements. The Prosecution has a duty to give you all the evidence they have attained, even if it is unhelpful to their case. Inconsistent witness statements is a favourable thing to your defence. It means that the Prosecution's case (to the extent they are relying on evidence from these witnesses) is weak, has holes in it, is not reliable or not credible.

    Depending on the nature of the trial, you may get a chance to cross-examine the witnesses in person (orally) or in writing (i.e. trials can be wholly in writing or oral as a hearing). If there is a hearing, the Prosecution will need to invite these witnesses up to the stand and ask them to recount their story. They cannot rely or refer to the witness statement unless they forget and in other extreme circumstances, and only with the leave of the court. After they do this, you cross-examine the witness. This is where you can point out the inconsistencies in their witness statements and ask them to explain the inconsistencies.

    There will usually always be inconstancies in a matter, unless it is very straight forward and the evidence is unquestionable. The inconstancies is what create the contentious issues.
     
  7. Tom Rogers

    Tom Rogers Active Member

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    Thanks heaps for your advice it has helped me alot! :)
    The hearing is set down for friday week.
     
  8. Tom Rogers

    Tom Rogers Active Member

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    Did a 'deal' with the prosecution in regards to 'assault occasioning bodily harm whilst armed & common assault".
    Plead guilty to 1 charge of common assault with no conviction recorded & a $400 fine to pay through SPER.
    No witnesses gave evidence & lawyer is very pleased. I am glad it has now gone away.
    Does this happen very often?
     
  9. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Does what happen?

    You assaulting people? No idea :) or
    negotiating deals? All the time or
    no conviction recorded? Depends on circumstances and offence committed and prior history. Fairly normal in Victoria for first timers.
     

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