Since the introduction of s 34AB of the Evidence Act 1929 (SA), which has the effect of placing equal evidentiary weight on identification evidence obtained through a photographic array (a photo board of similar-looking people), it is likely that line-ups will be rarely used in South Australia. Photographic arrays do not require the consent of the suspect.
Right to refuse to participate in a line-up
A person has a choice about whether to participate in a lineup and legal advice should be obtained before agreeing to take part if the person is a suspect.
What is a fair procedure for a line-up?
In an identification parade a suspect must be placed amongst nine other people of similar physical type. For example, if witnesses describe a suspect as having a dark complexion, it would be unfair to place him in a line up with persons of fair complexion. A suspect can choose where to stand in a line-up. If there is more than one witness, the suspect can move to a different place in the line before each new witness enters the room.
Practice where there is more than one witness
It is important if there is more than one witness that they be kept separate from each other so they cannot discuss the process. This prevents one witness contaminating the mind of another witness as to who the suspect may be. If a witness fails to identify a suspect in a line up, this can be used in court as evidence of the person's innocence.
Evidence of refusal to participate
Evidence that a person refused to take part in an identification parade is admissible in court. A parade conducted more informally (in a crowded area, simply because it is less effort for the police) is also generally admissible provided it is not unduly unfair to the person being identified. An accused person should always be given the opportunity to take part in an identification parade. In practice, they do not often occur.
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