Reliability of Eyewitness Testimonies: Increasing Accuracy through Forensic Science and Psychology


Tanisha Sethi, Anjali Satish & Avinash Mandal*


Published on September 23, 2021 | Manuscript Number: 2021/LNLR/23105 | Page Numbers: 105-113

Abstract: Eyewitness testimonies refer to the descriptions given by people to a crime/event they have witnessed. In Indian criminal jurisprudence, such testimonies are legally admissible as evidence in a Court of law, as understood by Section 3(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Eyewitnesses and their testimonies can provide cogent and persuasive evidences in a criminal investigation and trial; however, these testimonies are susceptible to the malleability of human memory; extreme and sole dependence on them can prove disastrous and risk incarcerating an innocent. This paper evaluates the unreliability of eyewitness identifications and testimonies in light of the factors such as the decaying nature of memory, weapon focus effect, informational interferences and weak nexus between confidence and accuracy. At the same time, the paper will also stress upon the importance of eyewitnesses in ensuring a fair trial, and the pressing need to surge the accuracy of their testimonies through the intersection of science and psychology with criminology, by adopting, promoting and augmenting the practice of narco-analysis, Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature and DNA profiling.

Keywords: Eyewitness Testimonies, Unreliability, Wrongful Convictions, Increasing Accuracy, Forensic Psychology.

*O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat

Cite as: Tanisha Sethi, Anjali Satish & Avinash Mandal, Reliability of Eyewitness Testimonies: Increasing Accuracy through Forensic Science and Psychology (2021) 1(2) LKO. L. REV. 105