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  • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

    The depositions are taken down and the witness is then asked to read it before signing or, it is read back to them as being correct that how it works so there should be no room for errors like you suggest.
    The depositions in the Eddowes case were signed, the depositions in the Kelly case were not signed. So lets not be misguided into thinking the procedure you describe was the common practice.

    When a witness is told to sign the deposition, no witness is going to refuse to sign a paper thrust at them when surrounded by policemen, lawyers & officers of the court. They just do what they are told.

    You are pretending that every witness can remember every word spoken by the prosecution & himself, verbatim, through 15, to 30, or 45 minutes of questioning. All the witness is doing by signing the deposition is basically confirming he/she agrees in principal with the written record, nothing more than that.


    Regards, Jon S.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post

      Hi Trevor,
      ........
      You are stuck upon the horns of the dilemma, either you accept your criterions for calling things unsafe is unreasonable and flawed and must accept that using the newspaper transcripts to help sift through the errors is required, or you accept your rules and definitions are sound and so your whole case is unsafe because it solely relies upon unsafe sources. Take your pick. They're your rules, and your arguments, if you don't agree with that you are disagreeing with yourself.

      - Jeff
      And that, ladies & gentlemen, is proverbially called A Slam Dunk!


      It's just a shame Trevor is not professional enough to admit it.

      Regards, Jon S.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
        ......

        A very simple equivalent is if someone said to me “Is Trevor Marriott reliable on the subject of x?”

        And I said “no, everything he says is unsafe because people make mistakes and people lie.”

        Would anyone find my response reasonable? Of course not, they would ask for evidence of Trevor being mistaken or of him being in the habit of making mistakes. Or evidence of him lying or of him being in the habit of lying.”
        Very much like the Cretan Paradox.
        (If a Cretan says "all Cretans are liars", do you believe him?)

        Regards, Jon S.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

          Very much like the Cretan Paradox.
          (If a Cretan says "all Cretans are liars", do you believe him?)

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

            The depositions in the Eddowes case were signed, the depositions in the Kelly case were not signed. So lets not be misguided into thinking the procedure you describe was the common practice.

            When a witness is told to sign the deposition, no witness is going to refuse to sign a paper thrust at them when surrounded by policemen, lawyers & officers of the court. They just do what they are told.

            You are pretending that every witness can remember every word spoken by the prosecution & himself, verbatim, through 15, to 30, or 45 minutes of questioning. All the witness is doing by signing the deposition is basically confirming he/she agrees in principal with the written record, nothing more than that.

            The City coroners court adopted a different procedure to the Met with the taking of inquest testimony

            The testimony is on oath and the witnesses are giving their testimony 4 days after the event from recollection, its not about spoken words in this case its about testing their recollection and whether it is safe to rely on their evidence. The witnesses would be asked before signing if they wanted to alter add or correct anything.

            www.trevormarriott.co.uk

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

              The City coroners court adopted a different procedure to the Met with the taking of inquest testimony
              Quite possibly.


              The testimony is on oath and the witnesses are giving their testimony 4 days after the event from recollection,....
              Is this part of the "reliance on memory" that you asserted was to be avoided, as unreliable?


              ......its not about spoken words in this case its about testing their recollection and whether it is safe to rely on their evidence. The witnesses would be asked before signing if they wanted to alter add or correct anything.
              That sounds to me like you are talking about the witness re-reading their own statement they made to police?
              This would take place before the inquest gets underway.

              What I was really talking about is the testimony given in the court (I used the word 'deposition' which was wrong on my part). The signed testimony that has survived in the Eddowes case shows both the questions from the solicitor & the reply from the witness.
              Yet, this witness, you assure us, has remembered every word they both used.

              However, if you admit the witness cannot possibly be expected to recall every single word, then your argument slips because the witness is then in the same position as a journalist - who you assert is not using every word verbatim.

              Both individuals - first, the witness who accepts he may not recall the actual words used; and second, a journalist who may not use the actual words he heard, are in the same boat.
              Both should be classed as 'unreliable' in your book.

              Which means, we are left with nothing.
              Regards, Jon S.

              Comment


              • A witness doesn't neccessarily have to sign anything.Evidence in court is given orally.Evidece to a police officer can be given orally.Where is all this 'has to be' coming from.
                A newspaper report is a copy.How can it be primary evidence?
                At the start there was joy that the archives had the official transcript.It has since been established that it is in fact a newspaper copy.The newspaper claims of official.doesn't change the fact it is a copy.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by harry View Post
                  A witness doesn't neccessarily have to sign anything.Evidence in court is given orally.Evidece to a police officer can be given orally.Where is all this 'has to be' coming from.
                  A newspaper report is a copy.How can it be primary evidence?
                  At the start there was joy that the archives had the official transcript.It has since been established that it is in fact a newspaper copy.The newspaper claims of official.doesn't change the fact it is a copy.
                  Hi harry,

                  Primary sources are records of the testimony as spoken by the witness; basically, anything that is a transcript of what was said. So, let's say for example, someone interested in the case at the time went to the inquest and wrote down the testimony, making a transcript of what was said. That would be a primary source because it is a preserving of the words said by the witnesses and the the questions posed to them.

                  A secondary source would be where instead of writing down what the witnesses said, they wrote some sort of summary of the gist of their testimony (so, they said, and then Witness X proceeded to describe the general lighting, which was generally poor overall). We are now 1 step removed from the words the witness said, making it a secondary source.

                  In most cases, newspapers do not publish transcripts, they publish paraphrased versions of events, so in general a newspaper will publish what constitutes a secondary source. However, there are occasions here where the newspapers did publish transcripts of what was said, both questions and answers, and while it is unusual, we are lucky to have that as an additional primary source (because it is a transcripts of the words spoken).

                  Now, no hand written transcript will be error free. And the inquest court version of the transcript was made by hand, writing down only the witness's words and doing so in long hand. That is a highly error prone way of making a transcript. The reporters, trained in short hand, would be able to record more words in the same amount of time (that's the whole point of short hand), which is evidenced by the fact they have recorded the questions as well as the answers, providing us with a better sense of context, and also with more pertinent information with regards to resolving the ambiguities of spoken language. This, I'm sure, would be one of the reasons the police filed these reports in the official case files - they contain highly useful information.

                  Will the reporter be error free? No, of course, not, no handwritten transcript will be error free. However, the errors are highly unlikely to occur at the same places when we compare two transcripts of the same event. There should be a high degree of correspondence between them, and where the wording differs, we know one or the other has made a mistake (leaving out for now the possibility that both are in error at the same place). It is at that point where one attempts, through various analyses drawing from the undisputed portions, to see if it is possible to work out which of the transcripts is more likely to be the correct one. Obviously, this is where debate comes in, and various arguments are made centering around working out which, if either, is the true account.

                  Basically, the court's version and the transcript versions found in the newspapers are both primary sources by definition. As we know, it is rare for a newspaper to publish primary source information, but we are lucky to have them available to us. Generally, newspapers write stories about the event, so many of the newspapers that cover the inquests are indeed presenting secondary source information, but the one's that present the transcript version of the inquest are presenting primary source material - by definition.

                  - Jeff

                  Comment


                  • Taking your first paragraph Jeff,it would not ,in those circumstances be an official version,as the newspaper claimed.
                    An official version would be a document written by an appointed court official.

                    Comment


                    • It seems there is a great deal of confusion here over terms Primary and secondary.

                      In History there are Primary and Secondary Sources, both a transcript of an inquest and a newspaper report from 1888 would in history terms be a Primary Source, a book written in 2020 that discusses those would be a secondary source. The issue then for the historian is what weight to apply to those sources and that is largely a question of reliability.

                      In law there is no such distinction, it seems some may be confusing them with rules of evidence surrounding First and Second hand Hearsay a totally different thing with rules that can vary be jurisdiction and have changed over time, but as we aren’t, and aren’t going to, be in a Court of law, do those rather complex rules apply?
                      G U T

                      There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by harry View Post
                        Taking your first paragraph Jeff,it would not ,in those circumstances be an official version,as the newspaper claimed.
                        An official version would be a document written by an appointed court official.
                        Hi harry,

                        Sure, but official document and primary source are not interchangeable terms. An official document is just one that has been generated by the courts, or police, etc. An official document could still be a secondary source. For example, a letter from a police official to Home Office, where they summarize a witness statement rather than pass on a transcript of the witness statement, is an offical document that is a secondary source with regards to the witness's testimony. So, while a newspaper would not be an official document, because it comes from outside of the courts/police, that doesn't mean it isn't a primary source of the inquest testimony. That latter depends upon how the newspaper presents the information.

                        - Jeff

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post

                          .....In most cases, newspapers do not publish transcripts, they publish paraphrased versions of events, so in general a newspaper will publish what constitutes a secondary source. However, there are occasions here where the newspapers did publish transcripts of what was said, both questions and answers,....
                          Thankyou Jeff well done.

                          And, very often, a newspaper will mix paraphrase & verbatim reporting. Beginning with an overview of how the witness describes their approach to the crime scene, then switching to verbatim for what was seen and heard by the witness at that particular moment. Starting with a paragraph in the 3rd person, then suddenly switching to 1st person singular, this is done quite often, but then if we then compare the various verbatim reports from different newspapers on the same witness statement they can differ even though quotation marks were used, they may still differ.

                          Interestingly, we have an example of Abberline breaking the golden rule in taking down the statement of Thomas Bowyer in the 3rd person, a no-no, but afterwards the rest of the Millers Court statements he takes down in the 1st person, as he should have.
                          I guess he was flustered for a moment...

                          Regards, Jon S.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by GUT View Post
                            It seems there is a great deal of confusion here over terms Primary and secondary.

                            In History there are Primary and Secondary Sources, both a transcript of an inquest and a newspaper report from 1888 would in history terms be a Primary Source, a book written in 2020 that discusses those would be a secondary source. The issue then for the historian is what weight to apply to those sources and that is largely a question of reliability.

                            In law there is no such distinction, it seems some may be confusing them with rules of evidence surrounding First and Second hand Hearsay a totally different thing with rules that can vary be jurisdiction and have changed over time, but as we aren’t, and aren’t going to, be in a Court of law, do those rather complex rules apply?
                            Hi GUT,

                            Yes, again, First and Second Hand Hearsay is a different distinction than primary and secondary source of information (and the former distinction is used in legal situations, like courts, and the latter is used in research).

                            While they tend to be used in different areas, I'll try and outline how the distinctions are not interchangeable and combine them in the following illustrations.

                            First hand hearsay is when a person relates what another person has told them directly. (So I tell GUT "My favorite food is fish"; if GUT then testifies that I like fish because I told him that, that is first hand hearsay.

                            Second hard hearsay would be if GUT then told Trevor that I had said "My favorite food is fish", and Trevor then testifies that "Jeff likes fish" that would be second hand hearsay, because the information had to travel from me, through GUT, to Trevor.

                            If GUT testifies that I had said the exact words "My favorite food is fish", then that would be a primary source because it is effectively claiming to be an exact reproduction of what I said. If GUT had told Trevor my exact words were "My favorite food is fish", and Trevor then testifies using those exact same words, then again, that would be a primary source through second hand hearsay.

                            But if they just said "Jeff mentioned that he likes fish the most" but doesn't claim those are my exact words, then that becomes a secondary source through first hand hearsay, and so on.

                            Now, to avoid any confusion, just because something is a primary source doesn't mean we accept it as 100% accurate. One has to carefully consider aspects of how reliable the information is. Second hand hearsay is, I believe, inadmissible in courts because there are just too many ways for it to go wrong that it is deemed unreliable beyond repair to meet legal requirements (i.e. Did GUT really tell Trevor my favorite food is fish, and did GUT really claim those were my exact words, and did Trevor really remember the exact words GUT told him, and all the same also apply to GUT and the relationship to me in the first place).

                            I believe first hand hearsay is allowed; a witness can testify to what someone said directly to them, and they do not have to do so in a way that would be considered a primary source (they don't have to quote me, just pass on the gist of what I said, making it a secondary source of what I said, coming through first hand hearsay). However, they can only testify that I said something, it cannot be used as a fact of something. For example, if my defense was that "I did did not like fish", neither could testify that "Jeff likes fish, he told me it was his favorite" because there they are asserting the truth of the statement. They could testify that I said it, just not that it is true. (I could simply say "I was just saying it, I didn't mean it" - to prove I do like and prefer fish, they could testify that when we flew on a plane (remember those days) and had the choice of either the fish, beef, chicken, or vegetarian, I would always choose the fish. That would be evidence of my preferences, while simply saying something is not legally admissible).

                            With regards to the transcripts, they are all first hand hearsay. They are transcripts of the person's words, as recorded by either a reporter or the court recorder. It's effectively the reporter or the court recorder saying "this is what they said in my presence", and because they presenting a transcript, they are presenting "quotes", making them primary sources of the witness testimony.

                            And finally, because the court recorder is connected with the courts, that would be labeled an official document, while the newspapers, being separate from the courts, would be an unofficial document. Being official does not, however, mean it is more accurate, nor does being unofficial mean it is not a primary source.

                            - Jeff
                            Last edited by JeffHamm; 03-31-2021, 02:22 AM.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                              Thankyou Jeff well done.

                              And, very often, a newspaper will mix paraphrase & verbatim reporting. Beginning with an overview of how the witness describes their approach to the crime scene, then switching to verbatim for what was seen and heard by the witness at that particular moment. Starting with a paragraph in the 3rd person, then suddenly switching to 1st person singular, this is done quite often, but then if we then compare the various verbatim reports from different newspapers on the same witness statement they can differ even though quotation marks were used, they may still differ.

                              Interestingly, we have an example of Abberline breaking the golden rule in taking down the statement of Thomas Bowyer in the 3rd person, a no-no, but afterwards the rest of the Millers Court statements he takes down in the 1st person, as he should have.
                              I guess he was flustered for a moment...
                              Hi Wickerman,

                              Thanks. You're absolutely correct, the designation of "primary source" does not mean it is considered error free. This is why we have to compare all of the primary sources and analyse them to both find the errors, and see if it is possible to get closer to what was said.

                              And also, you are correct to point out that the same article can at some points be a secondary source, and other sections be considered a primary source, just as you've outlined. That is really important to keep straight, otherwise people may think that if a report at one point is clearly secondary then that makes the entire set of statements secondary.

                              We see an example of how primary sources can differ in the case itself with regards to the versions of the graffiti written down by different police officers. And with but a few words to copy, words that were written right in front of them, we see errors of transcription, all in official documents. So we can see, I hope, the problems that would be associated with any single transcription of spoken words, over a much longer period of time. And simply stamping that version with officialdom, and getting someone to sign it when they cannot hope to remember the exact words they said, is not going to make those errors go away.

                              - Jeff
                              Last edited by JeffHamm; 03-31-2021, 02:16 AM.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by GUT View Post
                                It seems there is a great deal of confusion here over terms Primary and secondary.
                                No doubt you watched the "cover up of the 1979 Ghost Train fire" documentaries on ABC.

                                Comment

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