A witness is a person, other than a suspect, who gives
information concerning an incident.
He may also be the victim, complainant, or
accuser who first notified the MP of the incident. A witness must be sought when
he does not come forward to present his knowledge of the crime. He may be a person
who saw the crime, who can testify as to the actions and whereabouts of the accused
at the time of the crime, who knows facts or heard the accused say certain things,
a scientific specialist who can give expert testimony in court, or a person who, by
his knowledge of certain facts can contribute to the case.
He is usually
interviewed, but may be interrogated when he is suspected of lying, or of
The success and efficiency of an investigation may depend, to
some extent, on a person who furnishes information about a criminal and his
This source is protected by you, who often, if suitable, interviews
the source under conditions of his own choosing. A written statement is generally
not taken from the source because of his reluctance to commit himself on paper to
appear in court.
d. Complainants and Accusers. During a criminal investigation, a person may
report or accuse another.
He is usually interviewed.
In some cases, it may be
desirable to interrogate an accuser or complainant who is suspected of lying, or of
concealing the fact that he provoked the accused, or is trying to divert suspicion
When he is suspected of any offense, he must be advised of his
rights, as set forth in paragraph 5.
Information is often needed that will give a clearer
understanding of the motives and actions of persons involved in offense. Interview
persons who know the victim, suspect, witness, or source.
This is normally
conducted in the office, home, or place of business of such a person. Rarely does
this interview turn into an interrogation.
Distracting Persons. You must meet persons who have no connection with a crime
nor knowledge of it, who still present you with "information." They may claim to
be witnesses or victims, or even perpetrators. Despite the lack of any real basis
for their statements, these persons should not be dismissed lightly.
their stories, evaluate what they say, and take the necessary action. These people
can be classified as to the following.
Persons in this class are not often
encountered during investigations.
Some mentally warped or highly imaginative
persons, however, may present themselves as witnesses, as additional victims, or as
accomplices of suspects who have received a lot of publicity. Make every effort to
handle them in such a manner that neither the investigation nor the reputation of
the Armed Forces suffers.
b. Grudge Bearing and Lying Witnesses.
Because of previous troubles with
an accused or suspect, or in order to settle an old score, a person with no
knowledge of an incident may volunteer information about, or profess to be a
witness to an offense.
If you know the facts and details of the incident, it
will often enable you to detect lies in the story of such a person.
testimony may be similar to the accounts of the incident that have been
Where the real motives of such a witness are obscure to you, all