Sunday, May 12, 2013
Unreliable, But True?
In an investigation, it is 'safe' to say, "this is an unreliable statement" rather than conclude that it is either deceptive or truthful on its structure.
We are aware that a statement can be, itself, deemed "unreliable" if the suspect has been interviewed first, yet it is that we seek to push (or learn) the subject into the free editing process.
What can cause one to, for example, speak in the present tense, of a past tense event?
Speaking in the present tense is unreliable for analysis, and may indicate that the subject is making up his account. The past tense verb, along with strong pronoun usage, links the subject to the event.
"Johnny is a good kid. I see him get up, and I yell to him to get down and he is running, running straight towards those bastards when I see him get cut down by that thing. It scared us more than any weapon the Germans ever used. He is dragging himself on his knees, picked up his shot off leg, and carries it towards the others kids."
This account was given more than 20 years after the event, in France, during World War II. The subject is in the present tense, making it "unreliable", yet when speaking of the German small mines, he connects to the past tense "it scared us more than any weapon..."
Was it unreliable due to a hazy memory?
Was it present tense because he was living it out, as he spoke?
Was it a nightmare and untrue?
It is deemed "unreliable" for the purpose of analysis. It does not mean it did not happen, but more is needed, including the exploration of how the subject speaks of his experiences in the war.