Mar 26, 2021

Preparing to Present Evidence in Court

Private Investigators may be required to present evidence in court.

The most common forms of evidence presented in court are generally interviews and statements.

Interviews and statements are basic tools that an Investigator or Security Operative uses to record and verify facts given by witnesses. But what other types of evidence might Investigators be required to submit, what can it include and how do we prepare it?

 

More importantly, how can you prepare to present evidence in court if ever called upon

What kind of evidence might be submitted?  

 

Evidence is anything the law allows to be used in determining the issues in a case. This could be interviews, facts, physical documents or exhibits and testimony.  

There are different kinds of evidence an Investigator might present in court:  

  • Direct evidence is when someone directly observes an incident happening.  
  • Real evidence which are materials objects. 
  • Oral evidence which is a statement made by a witness. 
  • Documentary evidence is statements or papers pertaining to the alleged offence.  
  • Hearsay which is when a person who has heard or observed information about the incident and then provided it to a third party and this third party delivers the information in court.  
  • Expert evidence is evidence delivered by a qualified witness on the matter at hand. The witness must prove they are qualified to deliver expert evidence in the case.  

What can evidence include?

Evidence can be audio or visual recordings, charts, documents, photographic evidence, drawings, facts, physical items such as specimens or samples, statements and testimonies.

When preparing a brief of evidence, it is best practice to include a case summary for the Prosecutor, a short description of the incident, witnesses, victims, locations and dates and times to provide a thorough overview. 

When dealing with any type of evidence, it is important that it is preserved. Investigators will keep all evidence secure but still accessible so it can be provided as needed. This process meets the continuity of evidence requirements.

Preparing for court 

When Investigators are called upon to give evidence in court, a pre-court briefing will be held with the team to discuss the particulars or the case and the evidence that will be submitted.

This will include discussion about the evidence to submitted and which witness might produce it in court and confirmation of the evidence requirements. If there are any additional witness statements that need to be organised, this will be finalised and any concerns about the evidence or statements will be addressed prior to the court date.

Preparing for the brief of evidence in court

When compiling a brief, it might include the following:

  • A covering document outlining the full names addresses of all proposed defendants
  • The charges as they are laid or proposed to be laid
  • A compensation list if there are damages or injuries
  • A summary of the incident
  • A flowchart for complex cases
  • An exhibit list and continuity log for all exhibits including witness statements confirming movements, a witness list, witness, investigator and informants statements
  • Any audio, video and recordings that pertain to the case
  • Records of the interview and transcripts

Presenting the evidence 

Investigators will be very familiar with the protocols of the court. If you are attending court, you should also familiarise yourself with these protocols.

When presenting the evidence, if an Investigator is working for the Prosecution, it will be the job of the defence to discredit the findings and look for gaps, so Investigators need to be ready for this and remain in control of the situation.

If you are called as a witness or are required to present evidence in court, here are some tips to help you with the process.

  1. Always use plain language in short form and never provide an answer to a question you are unsure of. If you are unsure, ask them to repeat the question and if you don’t know the answer say so. Someone else may be able to elaborate in later testimony.  
  2. Listen carefully to the question and don’t allow yourself to be tripped up. Only answer the questions that are asked.
  3. Avoid becoming emotional or argumentative. If you feel yourself becoming emotional, take a deep breath and think for 5 seconds before speaking.
  4. Take your time with each response. You are entitled to consider your answer before providing it.
  5. Don’t freely offer additional information. Keep your answers short, don’t elaborate.
  6. If you do make a mistake in an answer own up to it immediately and clarify with the correct information.  

Having a Private Investigator working for you will help you no matter what side of the law you are on. Doing thorough research and understanding the processes will provide you with an advantage in any court case, QLD Covert Investigations can help on 1300 553 788

 

Asset College RTO 31718 is an Australian-owned, registered training organisation operating since 2006. Asset College delivers the Certificate III in Investigative Services, helping students become licensed Private Investigators.

 

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pagetitle: Preparing to Present Evidence in Court | QCI Latest News
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