Whether an individual is a witness for or against your case, there are signs that a person may not be reliable. The following are a few things to look for.

A Witness’s Statement Does Not Agree With the Evidence

This is not always obvious because a witness’s statement can seem accurate except for a single variance with the evidence. This is important because if the case were to go to trial, a simple discrepancy in the testimony could be exploited by the opposing attorney.

Although it is normal for eyewitness testimonies to vary, if there is a difference between the witness’s account and a particular piece of evidence, there is a chance that some or all of the testimony has been derived from the statement of one of the parties involved in the case.

There is a Bias With the Witness

If the witness is a friend or relative of one of the parties involved, there is an obvious bias. This doesn’t mean that the witness’s statement is necessarily inaccurate, but anytime there is a relationship between a witness and defendant or plaintiff, then the statement could be questioned.

A Witness Has Changed Their Story

Any time a witness changes their story, they become unreliable. Whether a witness’s testimony will still be valuable in court is up to an attorney, but in general, the greater the change, the more unreliable the witness is. The key element is whether the witness was on record with their first story.

If their first statement was not recorded and only done verbally, the second statement that was a recorded witness statement may carry more weight. This is why it is important to have a witness statement documented and have it done as early as possible while the event is still fresh in a person’s mind. A private investigator has skills and legal knowledge to record an in-person witness statement accurately.

The Witness Cannot Be Located

When an address, phone number, etc for witness is not accurate and the witness cannot be found, it would seem like the witness is inherently unreliable. Was there reasons that false information was given? For example, if the information was given to the driver of a car that was in an accident, the witness may have had an outstanding warrant for a traffic ticket and wanted to leave the scene quickly. A private investigation firm can often track down an individual, and get a recorded witness statement that will be valuable to your case.

The first step in determining whether a witness’s statement is reliable or not is to first record the statement. Often these statements can be recorded in person, but they can sometimes be done over the phone. In either case, our private investigation firm can document a witness’s statement for you. In addition, we offer other services to assist you in determining the reliability of these statements.

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Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a private investigator and founder of Tristar Investigation, California’s premiere detective agency. Bruce is also a media commentator for the investigation industry, featured in the New York Times, CNN, History Channel, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times and many more. You can find him on Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube.