PART E - PERSONS COMMONLY INTERVIEWED AND INTERROGATED.
During criminal investigations, you may need to question many types of persons.
These may include victims, witnesses, informers, complainants, and accusers.
A victim is normally interviewed to develop the facts of an
incident. This interview may take place in a hospital, at the home of the victim,
or at another location not of the investigator's choosing. A victim is not always
a reliable or helpful witness.
This is sometimes due to fear of some form of
revenge by the perpetrator or his associates. It could also be due to a state of
mental or physical shock or poor memory. An unreliable or cooperative victim may
be afraid of involvement of relatives or friends or of publicity.
On the other
hand, a victim may be too eager to please. He may attempt, therefore, to cooperate
by exaggerating and distorting facts.
It may be necessary to interview a victim
several times before all facts are correctly disclosed.
Occasionally, it is
necessary to interrogate a victim. Victims commonly inflate values of property to
obtain a larger claim. Also, victims may attempt to hide their involvement in an
offense. This is common in rape and homosexual investigations, and in drug-related
b. Witnesses. A witness is a person, other than a suspect, who has information
concerning an incident. A witness may also be the victim, complainant, or accuser
who first called the MPs about the incident.
A witness must be sought by the
investigator when he does not come forward voluntarily to give his knowledge of the
A witness may be a person who saw the crime committed.
He may be a
person who can testify as to the actions and whereabouts of the accused at the time
of the crime.
He could be a person who knows facts or heard the accused say
certain things that would tend to establish a motive for the crime. A witness may
be a scientific specialist who examined the physical evidence and can give
impartial testimony in court concerning such evidence. Also, the witness may be a
person who by his knowledge of certain facts or events can add to the overall
knowledge of the case.
A witness is usually interviewed, but he may be
interrogated when he is suspected of lying or of withholding important information.
The success and efficiency of an investigation may depend, to
some extent, on a person who, for one reason or another, furnishes information
about a criminal.
Informers are protected by the investigator, who often
interviews such persons under conditions chosen by the informer.
statement is generally not taken from an informer because of his reluctance to
commit himself on paper or to appear in court.
d. Complainants and Accusers.
During an investigation, a person may report or
accuse another person. The complainant or accuser is usually interviewed. In some
cases, however, it may be desirable to interrogate an accuser or complainant who is
suspected of lying or distortion.
He might also be suspected of hiding the fact
that he provoked the accused, or of attempting to divert suspicion from himself.
When a complainant or accuser is suspected of any offense, he must be advised of
his rights, as set forth in paragraph 5.