Challenging visual identification evidence
Produced in partnership with Hannah Thomas of 2 Hare Court

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Hannah Thomas of 2 Hare Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Challenging visual identification evidence
  • Breach of PACE Codes of Practice
  • Can a defective identification procedure be cured by holding another procedure?
  • Qualified identifications
  • Dock identifications
  • What happens if the witness makes an unexpected dock identification?
  • Recognition
  • Recognition of suspect on video/film
  • Identification by police officer from CCTV
  • The Turnbull guidelines
  • More...

Challenging visual identification evidence

Breach of PACE Codes of Practice

The arrangement and conduct of identification procedures are governed by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE 1984) Codes of Practice, Code D, known as PACE Code D.

A breach of PACE Code D will occur if:

  1. the police fail to hold an identification procedure in circumstances where they are required to do so (ie when identification is in dispute and an identification procedure would serve a useful purpose), or

  2. when conducting an identification procedure, the police fail to observe the procedural requirements

The procedural requirements for each identification procedure are set out in the Annexes to PACE Code D.

See Practice Notes: Eyewitness identification evidence and Advising a suspect on identification procedures.

Identification evidence obtained in breach of PACE Code D may form the basis of an application to exclude under PACE 1984, s 78. See Practice Note: Exclusion of unfair evidence in criminal proceedings and also Preparing a PACE 1984 s 78 application for breach of Code D—checklist.

A breach of PACE Code D will not automatically lead to the exclusion of identification evidence. If no prejudice has resulted from the breach, then the test under PACE 1984, s 78 will not be satisfied.

In R v Selwyn, the Divisional Court ruled that CCTV footage identification evidence by a police community support officer was admissible at the defendant's trial

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