One of the many and varied roles of an investigator in the private sector involves assistance in defence cases. It doesn’t always sit well with some investigators; after all, a lot of them are former cops. Working for the defence can be seen as working for the ‘enemy.’ But any experienced investigator – or police officer for that matter – knows there is a lot more to it than that.
It’s all about the justice system and fairness.
Some defendants may actually be innocent, right? Whether you agree with this assertion or not, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the justice system has failed some people. Plenty of examples of innocent people being released from prison. Innocent or not, everyone’s entitled to a fair trial.
The job of a professional investigator is to gather and examine the evidence. One good thing about engaging professional, experienced investigators in a criminal defence case is that they know the process. They know what to look for and the holes to find.
There are five good reasons why you should consider engaging an experienced investigator on your defence team.
- A professional investigator can help establish reasonable doubt. And, that’s what it’s all about for a defence lawyer! Discovery and evidence form newly discovered witnesses, new evidence, provision of expert technical advice or re-interviewing current witnesses can find information that contradicts existing information. This can cast doubts on the prosecution’s case.
- Interviewing current and known witnesses can expose inconsistencies in witness versions. This is particularly evident when the investigator is a seasoned interviewer. A witness’s story can change over time and any seasoned investigator can easily find the inconsistencies and gaps.
- New evidence (that may have originally been overlooked) is a key area for a defence investigator to focus on. It’s easier in most cases for a non-police investigator to discover evidence, particularly when some witnesses just don’t like talking to the police. Moreover, private investigators have the time to dig deeper. Usually they’re working on one or two cases instead of the dozens police investigators may be juggling.
- A defence investigator can investigate witnesses for ulterior motives and credibility issues. Uncovering a history of lying or evidence of a personal grudge, payback or set-up can show a judge or jury any flaws that exist in a witness’s credibility.
- Identifying potential flaws in police work, or in the police brief, is the bread and butter for a good defence investigator. Problems in evidence collection, gaps in witness statements, issues with forensic evidence, technical mistakes or even straight out corruption (like collusion, planting evidence or just plain mistakes) can be easily found and exposed by those investigators that know the process.
Of course, like any good investigator, he or she can only be lead where the evidence takes them. No one believes (like the scene in Shawshank Redemption) that all in prison “didn’t do it.” Except for Red, of course, who freely admitted his heinous crime.
There’s an old saying that ‘better for 100 men to go free than for one man to be found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit.’ This is the basis of our judicial system and one is the cornerstone of the notion of ‘beyond reasonable doubt. ’ That’s why it exists.
If you find yourself actually accused of a crime you didn’t commit, then you’ll need a professional to help you. Not just a good lawyer, but a good investigator. Working together they can save you, create the reasonable doubt you need, and deliver the justice that is required.