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Identification of a Suspect

Information

If you are a suspect in a Garda investigation, identification of you by witnesses or the victim may be an important aspect of the prosecution case against you. There are a number of different methods by which identification may be made.

Rules

Fingerprints

Fingerprint evidence may be used as evidence against you at your trial and it is not necessary for a police officer to caution you when you have voluntarily agreed to have your fingerprints taken.

Photographs

A Garda who has received a description of a suspect may show photographs to a potential witness. However, the Garda must place the photograph amongst a series of at least 12 photographs and not just one or two.

If that witness later identifies you in an identification parade, the trial judge must point out to the jury that the witness's evidence may be coloured by the fact that he or she has already seen a photograph of you.

Identification Parades

Evidence obtained as a result of an informal identification may be used at the trial (for example, where a witness points you out on the street) and it is not absolutely necessary that a formal identification parade be held to identify you. However, in some particular cases, a judge may decide that a formal identification parade should have been held.

The trial judge will warn the jury that it is dangerous to convict on visual identification evidence alone and will point out the difference in credibility between informal and formal identification procedures.

Page updated: 29 April 2008

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

  • Identification evidence
    Identification evidence in Ireland is evidence given by a victim or a witness that identifies the accused as the person who committed the crime.
  • Suspect evidence
    Suspect evidence is evidence that is admissable in court in Ireland but is suspect, i.e., it often turns out to be untrue or incorrect.
  • Real evidence
    This document discusses real evidence, which is real, tangible evidence, such as an object, tape recording, computer printout or photograph.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.