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Identification evidence Edit

Identification evidence is one form of opinion evidence (See also OPINION EVIDENCE). There are some difficulties with using such evidence due to its nature and general unreliability.

The three occasions at which identification evidence may arise or be used are at the incident, at an identification procedure or in court.

Identification evidence falls into two categories:

  1. Positive identification evidence. Example: That man was the person I saw standing next to the blue car.
  2. Resemblance identification evidence. Example: The man there has the same physical build as the man who I saw next to the ,however I’m not certain that it is the same person.

Resemblance evidence is not seen as being very reliable and so courts are hesitant to permit it.

When identification evidence will be used Edit

If the person who is asked to identify witness is told that the person whom they are identifying is a suspect then identification evidence will not be permitted in the trial. The judge can choose to allow or disallow identification evidence for a number of reasons including fairness or for reasons of public policy.

Duty to warn The judge is required to warn the jury of the potential unreliability of identification evidence. This warning may be considered on appeal. If the warning was not sufficient and as a result there was a miscarriage of justice the convicted will have the charge overturned.


Different types Edit

  1. Accused as a single suspect and dock identifications: This evidence will not be allowed if it is the only means by which the accused is connected with the offence in question.
  2. Photographic identification: The use of photos by police in identifying suspects is acceptable. However judges are cautious of situations where photos have the effect of creating evidence for the trial. The judge has to decide on the facts whether it would be unfair to the accused to allow the photographic evidence. Similar considerations apply to digiboards.
  3. Identification Parades:
  • Of all of the forms of identification evidence this is the most reliable.
  • People who look alike are gathered together with the accused and the witness is asked to identify the accused.
  • The accused can refuse to take part in the procedure but police (within limits) can conduct procedures to allow identification to occur
  • Voice Identification: this can be admissible evidence. It is not necessary that the witness identifying the voice as that of the accused was familiar with it before the offence.

4. Photofit identifications: this type of evidence is often used and is admissible.