“One of the greatest problems for the liar is that he must keep track of his lies…..the liar must remember what he said, and to whom, and must take care to maintain his falsehoods in the future…
Sam Harris, Lying, Four Elephants Press, 2013, at pages 33 to 34
A judge is permitted to find that an accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based upon the testimony of only one witness for the prosecution, without any forensic or other corroborating evidence.
That is a scary prospect for many clients given that there is no scientific way to conclusively establish whether a witness for the prosecution is telling the truth.
Ultimately, a judge must decide, based solely upon the admissible evidence at trial, how much, if any, of the testimony of a witness for the prosecution he or she will rely upon during his or her decision-making process.
One effective tool for Defence counsel to challenge the credibility of a witness for the prosecution is to demonstrate during cross-examination that what the witness said under oath at trial is significantly different from what the witness said in advance of the trial.
Given the high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt a Judge may have difficulty entering a conviction based upon the testimony of a witness who provides materially different accounts of the same event at different times.
By keeping track of the details of what a witness has said, and to whom, in advance of trial, Defence counsel will be ready to effectively challenge a witness for the prosecution who is actively trying to mislead the Court.