Note that versions presented by the witness in the

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Note that versions presented by the witness in the statement-taking session are almost certainly not the only versions the witness has produced or will produce (Heaton- Armstrong and Wolchover, 1992:165). It would be extremely interesting to follow a witness through various tellings of the crime, to friends, family, work colleagues and, if they consulted police more than once, versions to the police. Although I describe the first version of the crime presented on the tape as ‘version 1’, it is clear, even from the content of the statement that this is not the first time this witness has discussed the crime, even if it is the first time he has related events to this particular interlocutor. 5 Tracing themes I will now explore the progress of a number of themes through the statement-taking session into the statement. The main reason for examining this progress is that it enables us to discover whether the witness’s words and ideas have been incorporated into, or rejected from, the statement and if so to what extent, how and, possibly, why. Textual From the final statement: i On the 5 th [month name] 2000 at about 3pm I was a friends house called Jerry … ii At about 6pm or earlier we left Jerry house leaving Jerry behind. … iii We went directly to this mans house which is on X Rd almost opposite Y Rd. On the left. At this time, I’m not sure what time it was , but I can say that I had not seen this man before … Everything was ok at first the man was asking if I was OK and we were all laughing and joking iv About ½ hour later Kevin and Terry and the man were messing around they began to v push each other for about 3 minutes I was looking back and forward while talking to the girls and I heard them begin to argue I don’t know what about but it was loud, I said don’t start arguing in the mans house and they calmed down, the man continued to argue a bit saying “you bastards I’ll knock you out” he was saying that to Kevin [surname]. vi This went on for 10 minutes . Suddenly the man flipped he got up and grabbed Kevin around the throat Figure 4. Excerpts, from the final statement, for closer examination
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Of these 6 references, 4 are preceded by the uncertainty marker “about” (numbers i, ii, iv and v) and 1, number iii, could actually be described as a piece of anti-information because it tells us about something that the witness does not know rather than something the witness knows. “at first” which follows temporal reference iii is also a reference to time but it is used here to describe the sequence of events, not their time or duration, although it clearly implicitly connects with temporal reference iii. We will attend to four questions which will help us to investigate why temporal information has been included in the statement in the way in which it has: 1 How are the timings themselves arrived at, for example why 3pm not 3.30pm?
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