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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Hutchinson, George

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  #301  
Old 07-15-2018, 01:00 PM
Debra A Debra A is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Kenyon View Post
I would have thought the official procedure was to take down what the witness said verbatim.
Anything else leaves the police officer open to accusations of tampering with witness statements.
That is my experience of giving a witness statement.
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  #302  
Old 07-15-2018, 01:39 PM
Wickerman Wickerman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Kenyon View Post
I would have thought the official procedure was to take down what the witness said verbatim.
Anything else leaves the police officer open to accusations of tampering with witness statements.
My position at the start (several years ago), was the statement is taken down in his own words, as you & Debs have stated. Any questions are only for clarification. Like, for the detailed description of the suspect?
This I argued with Ben numerous times.

The more the interviewer interrupts the witness, the more chance of distraction.
I firmly believed that, however current police opinion tends to disagree.
What concerns me though is a modern policeman may be telling us the current procedure, not how it was done in 1888.

How many people today would truly know how it was done in 1888?

Sadly, the 1889 Police Code does not even address this issue.
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  #303  
Old 07-15-2018, 02:04 PM
Wickerman Wickerman is offline
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Originally Posted by Debra A View Post
That is my experience of giving a witness statement.
Hi Debs.

I do understand the point that was being made.
Witnesses, and especially the more common folk, do not think like a policeman.
The interviewing officer knows the story he is being given may need to be used in court at a trial someday.
So when the witness said, "I was walking up street on my way t'pub, and I saw him...."

Which street, which way was you walking, which pub?, etc.
He then say's the man "had a funny face, and a red thing around his neck, and he walked a bit like this....(demonstrating)".
How does a policeman present that verbatim story to a court?

So yes, it is understandable that an officer has to stop the witness and get him to reword what he said, or suggest something he agrees with. Something that makes the statement more presentable, or more coherent as Bridewell said.
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  #304  
Old 07-15-2018, 02:32 PM
Trevor Marriott Trevor Marriott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debra A View Post
That is my experience of giving a witness statement.
Sadly it doesnt work that way with an experienced statement taker. The idea is to include as much information as is possible, and in as much detail as is possible. i.e if the witness stated that a suspect was wearing a hat, it would be important to describe what type and colour hat it was.

The reason being that if a suspect were arrested and his house searched the police would know what type of hat they were looking for to connect the suspect to the crime.

Why should it change from 1888 ?

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Last edited by Trevor Marriott : 07-15-2018 at 02:53 PM.
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  #305  
Old 07-15-2018, 06:59 PM
harry harry is offline
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There are official records of witness statements taken on the day of the murder and written,it is claimed ,by Abberline himself.It can be noted that the statement of Thomas Bower is in a different style to the other statements.

So,there can be a difference in how thy are presented.As Trevor points out,the interviewer can ask,and they often do,questions to resolve points of ambiguity,but the final answer is entered verbatem.


For instance Sarah Lew is stated she arrived at the court between about 2am and 3am.It can be expected that Abberline would try for a more specific answer,and it is clear he would have failed.,and made no attempt to alter it.


So the Phrase,'"Can be identified",as with all the other official witness answers,can be accepted as made without alteration,no matter what opinions are as to the honesty of the police of that time.
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  #306  
Old 07-15-2018, 11:02 PM
Debra A Debra A is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wickerman View Post
Hi Debs.

I do understand the point that was being made.
Witnesses, and especially the more common folk, do not think like a policeman.
The interviewing officer knows the story he is being given may need to be used in court at a trial someday.
So when the witness said, "I was walking up street on my way t'pub, and I saw him...."

Which street, which way was you walking, which pub?, etc.
He then say's the man "had a funny face, and a red thing around his neck, and he walked a bit like this....(demonstrating)".
How does a policeman present that verbatim story to a court?

So yes, it is understandable that an officer has to stop the witness and get him to reword what he said, or suggest something he agrees with. Something that makes the statement more presentable, or more coherent as Bridewell said.
Hi Jon and Trevor.
I appreciate what you are both saying. The experience of the officer taking the statement and the amount of detail a witness is able to give, unprompted, would determine how many questions were asked of the witness. That makes sense.
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  #307  
Old 07-15-2018, 11:14 PM
Trevor Marriott Trevor Marriott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry View Post
There are official records of witness statements taken on the day of the murder and written,it is claimed ,by Abberline himself.It can be noted that the statement of Thomas Bower is in a different style to the other statements.

So,there can be a difference in how thy are presented.As Trevor points out,the interviewer can ask,and they often do,questions to resolve points of ambiguity,but the final answer is entered verbatem.


For instance Sarah Lew is stated she arrived at the court between about 2am and 3am.It can be expected that Abberline would try for a more specific answer,and it is clear he would have failed.,and made no attempt to alter it.


So the Phrase,'"Can be identified",as with all the other official witness answers,can be accepted as made without alteration,no matter what opinions are as to the honesty of the police of that time.
Where a witness statement is taken which refers to a description of an offender/suspect who is not known/or known at the time. The term "I would be able/not be able to recognize/identify him again is included in a statement as a matter of course, for obvious reasons.

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Last edited by Trevor Marriott : 07-15-2018 at 11:24 PM.
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  #308  
Old 07-16-2018, 01:04 AM
harry harry is offline
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Trevor,
But we know that in the Hutchinson statement,the words used were,"can be identified".Of course other descriptions would also surfice,but they were not used, and there is no evidence for Wickerman claim,that the whole paragraph was changed by Badham,from what Hutchinson actually said,to one Badham felt was more appropriate.No evidence whatsoever.
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  #309  
Old 07-16-2018, 04:34 AM
Darryl Kenyon Darryl Kenyon is offline
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I am not a Policeman but with due respect, - Button boots and gaiters with white buttons. Wore a very thick gold chain white linen collar. Black tie with horseshoe pin. That seems to me Hutchinson describing the man in great detail. Not Badham asking did he have a tie on, was he wearing jewellery etc
Also looking at his statement in the Ult Sourcebook his name is at the bottom of it with Badham's underneath. So I am assuming here that Hutchinson read, was happy with Badham's notes, and signed the statement. If he thought that Badham was putting words into his mouth he would surely have said so and not signed the document.
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  #310  
Old 07-16-2018, 05:01 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Kenyon View Post
That seems to me Hutchinson describing the man in great detail.
"He then pulled his handkerchief a red one out and gave it to her" certainly sounds like Badham was taking dictation. A tidied-up transcript would surely have read "He then pulled out a red handkerchief and gave it to her", or even "He then gave her a red handkerchief" - the "pulled out" bit being almost redundant. For sure, "a red one" looks pretty much like an aside on Hutchinson's part, written down in real time by the Sergeant.
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