Friday, December 09, 2005

Witnesses to abuse

It is extremely important to get a witness (or preferably more)if you see a cat abuse case. It's only hearsay evidence if you heard it from someone else (or more likely from someone who heard it from someone, or what should be termed the Urban Legend Abuse Case).

I just received a call from a caregiver. She unfortunately has a lot of cats abused in her estate. She understands the importance of a witness, but unfortunately she has not witnessed any abuse herself. She brought a woman she knows along once to make a report and I accompanied both of them to the Central Police Station for the interview (the report had already been filed and they were investigating the case). However after spending almost two hours giving her report, the minute the caregiver left the room, the witness recanted. She did not want to go to court, but she was afraid of offending her friend. When the caregiver came back and heard her friend did not want to make the report, she stormed off, leaving the witness close to tears.

Now the same caregiver has called to say that she has three witnesses - three children, the oldest of whom is thirteen and says he will go to court. I've asked her to check with his parents before she proceeds further.

So here are some tips for your witnesses :-

1. Make absolutely sure the witness will go all the way - by all means, persuade, cajole and beg, but make sure the witness DOES want to do this. If not, and you drag them along, it's not going to work.

2. Make sure the witness has his or her facts straight - if they can't remember what happened, make sure they write everything down first. An inconsistency can render your witness (and the case) not credible.

3. Get a credible witness - Make sure the witness is someone who can stand up in court and sound like someone you can believe. This is linked to two - if the person's story constantly changes, it is difficult to get the court to buy the story.

I have accompanied people to police stations and to the Central Police Station, and would be happy to go again if necessary, but make sure the witness is comfortable. This is going to be a process that goes through investigation and then to a trial (unless the suspect pleads guilty).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hhmmmm...... Anyone follows a reality show called "Animal Precinct" on Animal Planet?? The secial agents from ASPCA will go to the location to investigate if they recieved a complaint about aminal abuse. Maybe pets in US has a better life and animal right.

9/12/05 12:59 PM  

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