Consideration must be given to identity at three points in the investigation. It is not uncommon for defence to question identity even if there is a very brief break (VCB) between the offence, and the point of arrest. Address the identity of the accused at the following three points in the investigation.
- When and how is the accused identified as the person who committed the crime?
- How is the person arrested identified as the same person who committed the crime?
- Who will be able to ID the suspect in court. Do you have good suspect description notes?
Police often ID the accused by saying that he “matched the description” of the suspect. This is NOT sufficient to link the accused to the crime. If you have ID’ d the suspect based upon description articulate the following
- Clearly articulate the details of the description of the suspect provided by the witness or dispatch (or observed in the video)
- Clearly articulate the details of the description of the party you arrested
- Compare the “similarities” in the description and explain why these similarities (and perhaps other factors) provided you with reasonable grounds for arrest or reasonable suspicion for detention