The area between and around these perspectives is

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The area between and around these perspectives is mediated by such considerations as: Who knows what information is important? What lexical items, grammatical and discoursal structures should be used? A clear understanding of what is typically included and excluded in statement-taking sessions and in the resulting statements might help us to answer these questions. At present, jurors and other lay people are given the impression that witness statements are artefacts produced under the conditions of scenario A, above, purely the words of the witness. If one of the other scenarios is more accurate, or a blend of the three scenarios, as is suggested by the analysis above, jurors and lay people should be made aware of that. Furthermore, if a one of the ‘blends’ of positions would provide a more ethical and realistic approach to statement taking than scenario A, then that should be acknowledged and embraced. As Komter (forthcoming) notes, discussing the related issue of taking statements from suspects, interviewers must balance the need to “do justice to the suspect’s version of events” with the production of a document that can “accommodate the demands of its future users in the criminal law process”. There seems to be no reason that this balancing should not be demystified. 7 Concluding themes and thoughts It may be that precise timings are not important in this investigation. However, if timing was genuinely important to this investigation, for example in helping to merge the testimony of several witnesses, or in aiding investigators in locating other potential witnesses who were in the area at the time, the audio-recording of this session would become invaluable. An audio-recording of this interview enables an investigative team to do exactly what I have done here, to trace the development of salient facts through the statement-taking session and to check that incongruities or apparent trivialities, which might turn out to be pivotal, are not overlooked. It may be unreasonable to expect
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interviewers to ask pertinent questions, note answers, identify contradictions, resolve inconsistencies, construct a text and attend to interpersonal aspects of the interview situation simultaneously, if this is so, it is not at all surprising that some information which witnesses present gets ‘lost’, despite good intentions. Furthermore, it is entirely unreasonable to expect a written text to represent a series of spoken texts in a truly meaningful way. By locating paradoxes which were not explored during interview and noting information which is recorded on tape, but not paper, this analysis shows that an audio-recording is a totally different sort of investigative tool from a witness statement.
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