Tracy has been charged with dwelling house burglary. It is alleged that she entered a house through an insecure back door and stole a purse that had been left by the owner of the house, Sam. As Tracy was walking away from the house, Sam, who was in one of the upstairs bedrooms, looked out of the window and saw her and asked her what she was doing. Tracy turned around and briefly looked at Sam before running from the scene. Sam subsequently picked Tracy out in a video identification procedure. Over the previous seven years Tracy has been convicted of four dwelling-house burglaries, all involving her entering houses during the day and stealing small quantities of property. All four previous convictions were on separate Court dates. Tracy has denied the current offence maintaining that it is a case of mistaken identity and raising an alibi.
a) Briefly explain how the Judge should direct the jury concerning the issue of identification in this case.
Candidates must identify Turnbull
as the relevant authority, although the students are not expected to give the full reference. The students can list the factors that should be dealt with in a Turnbull direction. The marker can give (1 mark) for each factor up to a maximum of (5 marks).
The students do not, therefore, have to write about all of the points set out below. The marker should be satisfied, however, that the student has given the main factors for a Turnbull direction before giving full marks.
- Special need for caution in ID cases –
- previous mistakes in cases in the past.
Mistaken witness can also be a convincing one.
Jury must examine carefully the circumstances of the ID i.e. lighting, distance, length under observation etc.
Any discrepancies in description.
Recognition may be more reliable than stranger ID, but may still be mistaken.
Judge should identify any supporting evidence and also any evidence which appears supporting but in fact is not.
Alibi – even if false does not mean Defendant has been correctly identified. False alibis can be given to bolster an honest defence.