Testimony by handwriting specialists, expert evidence relating to documents and evidence obtained by a private investigator can make a significant difference to the outcome of your case.
Let’s discuss how using a private investigator can be of importance in your defense investigation. Private investigators can assist with:
Private investigators can be very useful when you need witnesses to support your version of what happened. Often people witness an event, but they don’t come forward to offer evidence or statements. If you are aware of such witnesses, but they are unknown to you, a private investigator might be able to locate the witnesses by going from door to door to try and find anyone with information and obtain statements from them to support your case.
They can even place advertisements in newspapers requesting witnesses to come forward. Hopefully these witnesses will be prepared to testify in your case. Some witnesses however, are reluctant to get involved, even if they can support your case and some witnesses may decide to change their evidence later on in the proceedings.
If a witness becomes unavailable to attend court, or if a witness changes their version of events, and your private investigator has taken a statement from them before, your lawyer may decide to call the investigator to testify about what the witness told the private investigator.
Private investigators can also be used to obtain evidence necessary for your defense, such as CCTV footage, or they can take photographs and videos of the crime scene. They can also take photos of other places or persons relevant to your defense. They can find records of transactions, or any other physical evidence to disprove the case against you. Private investigators are often specialists in a specific field and you could for example make use of a private forensic investigator to obtain computer evidence or forensic accounting evidence if you are accused of committing fraud.
Basically private investigators can become the eyes and the ears of your defense team to obtain any evidence that can be favourable to your defense. Whilst they are out in the field obtaining evidence to assist in your defence, your lawyers can focus on preparing their legal arguments to fight your case in court.
Another important technique in defending your case could involve document examination by expert witnesses. Document examiners can come up with a wealth of information by simply examining and analyzing different aspects of a document to reach certain conclusions that could assist in your defense.
Handwriting experts will compare handwriting and signatures to determine authenticity. If a document or your signature is an issue in a criminal case against you, the examiner will use a source document (which will be yours) and compare it to the other document, alleged to have been written or signed by you. Each person has his or her own unique habits and styles in their handwriting, and document examiners believe that no two persons’ handwriting can be identical. By comparing the two documents the examiner will express an opinion on whether the signature or the handwriting on the documents are by the same person. The opinion will be based on whether there are a significant number of the individual unique characteristics of your handwriting present on the disputed document, or the fact that there are no significant differences between the two.
Determining the age of entries on a document
Sometimes it can be important to establish in which order entries were made on a document. Document examiners are able to determine which entry was made first by looking at certain indicators on the document that indicate that the document was altered.
By examining indented writing on a writing pad, an examiner can establish the content of a note on a previous page that is now missing.
Tracing a document back to the machine it was produced on
A machine can produce its own individual markings due to the wear and tear of that particular machine. An example would be an old typewriter where one of the letters might be worn out and types that specific letter in a specific way all the time. The same applies to photocopies. There may be a mark on the glass of the photocopier, or there might be a specific defect that is unique to that specific photocopier. These unique “markings” or faults can identify which machine produced a document.
By identifying the machine that produced the document you can for example provide proof that it was impossible for you to have access to that particular machine to alter a document or to manufacture a fraudulent document.
From the examples discussed above you will understand that it can be very useful and sometimes critical for your defense team to use private investigators and expert witnesses to disprove the state’s evidence against you. A good defense lawyer will know when you need to call on experts and private investigators to strengthen your case. Discuss these options with your lawyer when preparing your defense
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.