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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93479 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Police Guidelines - Pretrial Eyewitness Identification Procedures
Author(s): N Brooks
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 261
Sponsoring Agency: Law Reform Cmssn of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A OL6, Canada
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: Law Reform Cmssn of Canada
130 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A OL6,

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: To minimize the risk of unreliable identification and ensure fairness to accused persons, this report recommends uniform rules for obtaining verbal descriptions of the suspect from an eyewitness; for preparing sketches and composites of the suspect; and for conducting lineups, photographic displays, informal viewings, and confrontations.
Abstract: The author conducted a survey of police practices relating to pretrial identification procedures in 6 Ontario cities and l3 police departments across Canada before preparing the guidelines. An introduction discusses the need to structure the exercise of police discretion and the dangers inherent in eyewitness testimony. It reviews actual cases in which wrongful convictions have resulted from mistaken eyewitness identification, psychological studies documenting the frailty of human perception and memory, and reasons why eyewitness testimony is so difficult to assess. The book sets out the guidelines and then comments individually on each. The commentary explains reasons for the rule, reviews Commonwealth cases on related issues, and briefly describes present Canadian practice. Part I of the guidelines defines their scope, with attention to procedures, restrictions on eyewitness identification, and circumstances where the guidelines may be unnecessary or modified. Part II concerns general rules, such as separating witnesses, instructing witnesses, recordkeeping, and right to counsel. The remaining sections address obtaining descriptions, use of sketches and composites, lineups, showing photographs, informal identification procedures, and confrontations. The author concludes that a lineup is a better identification test than a photographic display. Footnotes, approximately 320 references, and a table of cases are supplied.
Index Term(s): Canada; Police standards; Suspect identification
Note: Criminal Law Series
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