This subject often comes up in the group and quite often when one of us corrects that “their word” is in fact evidence and can be used. This often causes upset and heated debate. To this end we think that it is a good idea to try and explain why we do this.
Often members hold the belief that an accusers statement is hearsay evidence and that its not allowed.
Here we will try to explain the position and explain what you can do in the situation.
Firstly, when an accuser makes a statement saying “this happened to me” it is not hearsay. This is because it is the accuser saying it happened to them.
An example of hearsay would be where a third party who was not present made a statement saying “my friend told me this happened to them”.
We will always correct when a member states it is hearsay evidence. The reason for this is that you will continue with your case under a false impression. We have seen members expect to get NFA or Not Guilty on the sole fact that they believe it is hearsay evidence and it’s not allowed. Making sure a member understands that it is not hearsay evidence, that it is allowed and that it needs dealing with is very important to us.
Accused.Me.UK has always tried to give the best advice that we can. We try to deal with issues and answer questions based on what the law is and what the rules say. Often members are approaching a question based on what they (and probably most people) think that the law should be, and what is fair and unfair. Whilst this is OK it does not help if we do not correct wrong advice that is damaging, and get the correct answer out there. Maybe one day the law/rules could change, but for now we can only work with how it is.
To this end we need to make clear that where the Police have a statement from an accuser then this statement is the evidence. We understand that in some cases the content of such statements are lies. Nonetheless the Police do not know this and the statement when making a charging decision will be passed to the CPS who will read (or watch) the statement and based on everything else that they have (your interview, CCTV, etc) they will make a decision on whether to charge you or not.
If they decide to charge you then forming part of the documents that you will eventually receive will be copies of the statement(s) (maybe in the form of a transcript / a video statement) that the CPS will be relying on in order to obtain a conviction against you.
At trial, your lawyers will get to cross examine the accuser. As such your lawyer needs to be well prepared. It’s going to do no good to the case or your relationship with your legal team if you keep getting heated up stating things such as they can’t use it, it’s he said she said, it’s hearsay, get it thrown out etc.
The fact is that the judge is going to allow it and you and your legal team are going to have to deal with it.
The first recommendation is to get that statement (or transcript) and go through it word for word. Highlight any lies in it.
Then write down all the lies and next to the lie write the truth. If you have proof of the truth (messages, photos, etc) then attach them.
You’re not going to have evidence of all the truths, maybe in the same way as the accusers lies you may have no evidence of any of the truths. However next to their lies write your truth.
If it is a transcript that you are working from ask the solicitor to let you know when the video of the interview becomes available. You won’t be allowed a copy of this but you will be allowed to go to the solicitors office and watch it there. Just like with the transcript go through it. Whilst nothing may change in terms of the words watching and listening to tone and body language (especially if you know the accuser) may direct you to the lies. Bring any awkward moments for the accuser to the attention of your lawyers.
The more work that you do on this and bring to the attention of your lawyers the better. An accuser does not get to make their statements and walk away from it. Your right is to test their evidence and this is by them been cross examined in court. The more information regarding their lies and your truth that you can give to the lawyers along with your information regarding their personality and quirks will help your legal team build the best possible cross examination of the witness.
At Accused.Me we have many times heard of relationships between even the best lawyers and clients completely break down over this very issue. Clients demanding that the statements can’t possibly be used and that they should get the judge to throw the statements out, when the legal team can do no such thing. The only thing they can do for you is challenge the witness/accuser to the best of their ability in cross examination, and the more information and work you can supply to them to do this the better.