Witness Support, Preparation & Profiling. Mark Pathak – Social Worker (Citysafe Strategy Business Unit, Liverpool City Council). ISU/LCC. ©ISU/LCC. The Investigations Support Unit. Principal areas of activity. Admin Support and Legal liaison.
Mark Pathak – Social Worker
(Citysafe Strategy Business Unit, Liverpool City Council)
Principal areas of activity.
My Starting Point:
The National Picture:
The Liverpool Picture:
1. Crimes are committed but never reported:
2. Once at the Police station: Police Officers said…
3. To prosecute or not to prosecute?:
4.See you in court: Barristers said…
On a personal level:-
At a service/staff level:-
At a trial level:-
1 : 4 : 29
“Well everybody was getting abused left right and centre. Half the lads were getting battered. I was getting battered as well. I got damage at the back end, front end, the mouth as well. I got really I got damage all over my body. Half the time I could not sit down”.
“I told people in the past and nobody would listen to me so I said I might as well forget about it because nobody was going to listen. Right, if you would have told anybody you would have got a good hiding”.
Basis of police decision making:-
Basis of Crown Prosecution Service decision
does a witness need to learn or develop?
Covers a range of information,understanding and skillsthat a witness needs to absorb.
Varies from witness to witness. But we have devised some rules of thumb:
1. Police Officers.
2. C.P.S. lawyers.
3. Social Workers.
4. Carers / Support workers.
Explaining the process
Assessment as a witness
Identifying and reducing obstacles.
Stereotypes and homogeneity
“This witness in this trial”
Special Measures application and orders at PCMH.Witness Preparation
“The judge does know I can’t read?”
“I can have a break can’t I?”
“It will be okay if I cry won’t it?”
“You will sit next to me won’t you?”
…people in the Criminal Justice System?
“What if they clam up”
“Will they make a good witness?”
“Will they give Best Evidence?”
“Will this allow a fair trial?”How do Witness Profiles help…
2. Special Measures
(As Under The Youth Justice & Criminal Evidence Act 1999)
3. Measures to assist
4. Medical needs
5. Appearance and Personality
6. General functional skills
11. Advice to Counsel:
(i) When asking questions
(ii) When questions are answered
Measures to assist
• Paul is likely to need breaks every 20 minutes, in order to use the lavatory.
• There are times when other people find it difficult to understand what Paul has said. Paul understands that he alone can give his evidence. However if there are words which are unclear, I would be prepared to repeat them, for clarification, if so directed by the court.
General Functional Skills
• Paul presents himself as a "streetwise" and able man, possessing a range of skills. In reality many of these skills are superficial. His verbal skills are not matched by his performance skills.
• Paul swallows hard and regularly and this disrupts his speech.
• When Paul is asked to repeat what he has said, he will do so but will reduce the complexity of the sentence.
• However Paul gets annoyed if asked to repeat an answer too many times because he has not been understood. One way to help avoid this is to say “I missed that Paul can you say it again?” and use a word or words that Paul has used to prompt him.
• He wants to understand what is going on around him and he finds it difficult to say, “I do not understand”. He will give a totally inappropriate answer with an expression of defeat on his face rather than admit he does not understand.
• Because of this Paul needs permission to say “I don't understand” and should be reminded not to guess if he does not know the answer.
• When confused, Paul will look down and lift his hands (cupping one hand with the other) to his mouth and will bite the top of his thumb-nail and seem to be reflecting.
• When he is thinking, Paul sits back and shrinks into his chair and then crosses his arms. At this point he will either answer the question or indicate that he cannot do so.
• If he taps the side of his head, laughs and says something about his brain not working properly, he is using this to cover up the fact that he does not know the answer or he is confused. In these circumstances, offer him a break or change the line of questioning.
Involves a thorough and detailed:-
problem solving strategies
framework for action
(i) identification of Measures to Assist
(ii) identification of Special Measures (YJ&CEA).
Argue why they are needed compared
to "I'll apply because you have a
assumptions – is the special measure the necessary/appropriate one?
check out with or ask the witness.
Its about a:
Person Centred Vs. Process Centred
I never said I wanted I got you that …
that, Vs. why didn't it work?
I said I wanted this!
It is the individual witness who shapes the profile,
not vice versa.
The profile is used to change or affect the
Criminal Justice system, with particular
reference to assumptions held by it.
The profile, when drafted, is a distillate of the
support and preparation process,
not an end to itself.
The best person to produce the Witness Profile
is the person doing the preparation work.
The process is a dynamic one. The profile becomes
a “live” piece of work that develops
as the person responds to being a witness.