Identification Evidence

by Fighting for Justice

Identification Evidence

A description given at the time of the incident was of ‘a black, paki, Asian shorter than 5 foot six with a balding shaved head, clean shaven, wearing a long sleeve white shirt with a collar and unhealthily skinny‘. Kev has olive skin, is almost 6 foot tall and at that time was around 12 stone and wore his hair in a French crop . His clothing on the day as seen on CCTV was a blue hooded top. He always wore a distinctive diamond earring (as can be seen on ear on photo skin) but was told to remove this by police prior to taking part in the viper I.D. parade. Not one witness mentioned seeing anyone with an ear piercing.

While being held at the Police Station Kev was taken for I.D parades even though witnesses had already positively identified two other suspects and he did not fit the description of the suspects the police were looking for.

Ian Jennings, whose questionable evidence provided background and motive for the case picked numbers 5 and 6 from the line-up. He claimed Number 6 was the gunman. Number 5 being a volunteer and number 6, Kev. After the parade there was a conversation between Jennings, his solicitor and an officer. In evidence Jennings could not remember the conversation but thought that both suspects were on the same parade. Ian Jennings claimed that he had never met Kev when in fact there was satellite navigation history and cell cite analysis to show that he had been at Jennings address on 26th August 2007 with Miran, Ian and Christine Jennings. When questioned during the trial Ian Jennings said of the I.D parade “my head was up my arse. I just picked any two numbers.” Jennings viewed a second I.D. parade and identified another as the gunman which meant that Kev could not be responsible. However, due to crown prosecution failures and a corrupt defence solicitor this information was not obtained in time to be used.

Christine Jennings viewed four I.D. parades. On the first, she said she was “positive” of her choice of number 5 which was a volunteer. On the second she was again “positive” and picked another man who had been arrested before Kev and was being questioned over the murders as  the second man without a gun. On the third parade she said she couldn’t be sure and on the fourth she picked Kev as being the other man without a gun. During trial when she was told the first positive I.D was a volunteer and the second was not charged with this offence she said she could not be sure that the I.D of Kev was correct.

Claire Evans viewed an I.D parade in which Kev was present and claimed that no-one in the parade was present at the house at the time of the incident. She had given a statement describing the man who first entered her bedroom as “shorter than 5′ 6”, “smaller than Mike.” (Mikey is Miran’s nick name). Kev stands taller than Miran at 5’10”.

The Judge directed the Jury in his summing up that Ian Jennings was telling the truth when he identified Kev. He also allowed vital disclosure to be received after the closing of the defence case meaning it was useless when in fact it proved that Kev had met Ian and Christine Jennings days before the incident so was wrongly identified by them because of this.

Under the Turnbull guidelines, identification evidence may be so poor and unsupported by other evidence that the trial Judge should withdraw the case from the jury. This “protects a jury from acting upon the type of evidence which even if believed, experience has shown to be a possible source of injustice.”

It has long been recognised that uncorroborated identification evidence is inherently unreliable. A notorious example was media interviews given by eye witnesses immediately after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell station in July 2005. Although witnesses gave what they sincerely believed were honest and factually accurate accounts, CCTV footage showed that their recollections were wrong in almost every detail

A series of catastrophic misidentifications require the introduction of sound new practices for evidence based on that most fragile of human attributes, visual memory.  Witnesses must not be prompted; a witnesses memory, as far as possible, must be as safely protected from contamination as a crime scene. The first description is vital. If a witness makes a positive identification of one individual , no subsequent identification of a second is permissible. Equivocation and uncertainty are not enough. The wrongful identification of Kev Thakrar by Ian and Christine Jennings which was the pillar of the prosecution case, was spectacular in its non compliance with any safeguard.

Eyewitness misidentification has been accepted worldwide as a leading cause of wrongful convictions. Around 75 per cent of post conviction DNA exonerations in the United States are attributed to eyewitness misidentification.

Recently the courts have become increasingly reluctant to base convictions solely upon eyewitness testimony, especially since studies have exposed the fallibility of such testimony. Had the false multiple hearsay statements not been allowed as evidence, the CPS would have had no case with dodgy, partial ID evidence.

Howe United States V. Wade 388 US 218, 228-9 (1967) (Identification evidence is ‘proverbially untrustworthy’ and mistaken eyewitness identifications ‘account for more miscarriages of justice than any other single factor’; unreliable ID’s should be excluded by the trial judge).However one examines this identification evidence, the prejudice is overwhelming with no compelling evidence of recognition or identification. In any view this identification evidence is flawed.

Without the I.D. evidence there would have been no case for Kev to answer.

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