Litigation

Cross Examination: Plausibility

How to skillfully extract out the truth from an unwilling witness. Verdict? Plausibility, destroyed.


How to skillfully extract out the truth from an unwilling witness. Verdict? Plausibility, destroyed.

One common method of challenging a witness is to try to show that their evidence is implausible or illogical. Some of the methods of doing this would be:

  • showing that the testimony of the witness is contradicted by his own actions
  • showing that the evidence of the witness is inconsistent with the known physical evidence;
  • illustrating that the witness has testified to acting in a way that is contrary to how one would normally expect someone to act in the circumstances

If these types of implausible actions are present then they should be focused on and highlighted in the cross-examination.

An example of a cross-examination, that focused on the lack of plausibility, was the cross-examination of the accused in the case of Jessie Dotson. The version of the accused was that he had in a bedroom and was not the one who had killed his brother and five others, and seriously injured three other people. The version of the accused was implausible as not only had he not used a telephone in the bedroom to call the police, he had also fled the scene and not called the police or told anyone of the events for several days after. The cross-examination can be seen at:

Jessie Dotson cross examination

 

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