Eyewitnesses play a valuable role in prosecuting people for crimes. Yet, they sometimes get things wrong, leading to innocent people being imprisoned.
To the police and prosecution, it seems simple: Mr. X says they saw you at the scene of the crime at the time it took place. He might even claim he saw you committing it. That should be enough to convince a court you did it. Yet, what if you didn’t? How will you persuade a judge and jury that the eyewitness is mistaken? Here are some things to ask:
Do you have an alibi?
Perhaps the best way to contradict Mr.X’s assertion that you were there is to have someone else who is willing to stand up in court and say you were elsewhere. Prosecutors might accuse your alibi of lying, so if you have more than one, even better.
Could the eyewitness have ulterior motives?
If you discover that Mr. X is the brother of someone you had problems with in the past, they might be doing it to seek revenge on you. Or it could be that Mr. X committed the crime and hopes to get away with it by blaming you.
How well could they actually see?
Look at distance, weather, lighting and their eyesight. If Mr. X turns up in court and trips over a chair he did not see because he forgot his glasses, you might ask how he identified you from 100 meters on a hot, rainy night that would have steamed up any spectacles he was wearing.
Discrediting an eyewitness account is just one of many defense options you should consider if facing criminal charges. Getting legal help to choose the best ones increases the chance of an acquittal.