Investigative interviewing involves eliciting a detailed and accurate account of an event or situation from a person to assist in decision making. The method is ethical and research based, and aims at maximizing the likelihood of obtaining relevant information while minimizing the risks of contaminating evidence obtained in questioning.
Interviewing witnesses for personal injury, regulatory, and criminal law matters is one of the many ways I can help lawyers build cases.
A prominent criminal lawyer and I travelled to Western Canada to interview several witnesses that could potentially shed light on the background of his client’s marriage. His client and her husband had only been living in Ontario for a short time before she plunged a kitchen knife into him while he slept. He bled to death while en route to the hospital and she was charged with first-degree murder.
I interviewed numerous witnesses who provided accounts of psychological, verbal, and chronic low-level physical violence, as well as other major elements of coercive control (such as isolation and humiliation) that left the wife in a constant state of fear for herself and her son.
The skillful defence lawyer called six witnesses from Western Canada who provided evidence at trial, along with expert testimony on battered wife syndrome and coercive control, to fully develop the case for self-defence. As the trial judge disallowed the initial self-defence plea, the defence instead argued that she was guilty of manslaughter, but not first-degree murder.
After a four-day deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty of first-degree murder, but guilty of manslaughter. Her conviction and sentence were later appealed, and The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on conviction, but allowed the appeal on sentencing and reduced her sentence to time served.
The Court of Appeal concluded that the trial judge erred in focusing on the degree of abuse she suffered, rather than on the impact this abuse had on her.
Do you have witnesses to be interviewed?
I've taken over 1000 witness statements, many of which have made the difference in the outcome of my client’s cases.
Contact me to arrange your complimentary confidential case consultation.
The Case of Rob from Saskatchewan
One of the ways I help lawyers advance their files is by finding missing people. Solving the “locate puzzle” is always rewarding and each request has its own unique set of challenges. Most can be solved reasonably quick; however, others can be extremely complicated by minimal or outdated information. The case of Rob from Saskatchewan was one.
A prominent Ottawa law firm called me with an estate file that had been all but given up on. When I asked what they knew about the beneficiary, I was told, “His name is Rob and he lived in Saskatchewan with his mother about 20 years ago.”
I asked, “Do you have anything else?”
They replied, “A 20-year-old photo of his mother with her maiden name written on the back.”
Well, I do like a challenge.
After 3 months of research, enquiries, deduction and reasoning (and to make a long story short), there was no sign of Rob, but I found Mom. I dialed her number anticipating that I was mere steps away from Rob, when a woman answered. I asked for her by name (which I had figured out by now), but she told me that I had the wrong number and hung up.
My investigator’s intuition was pinging, so I called back but there was no answer or voicemail. Being that she was 3500 km away, I couldn’t just drive over and knock on her door. I decided to write an email and sent it to her at the email address I had identified.
Later that night, my phone rang with an out of province number on the display. It was Mom. I authenticated that I had the correct person, but she was not giving up Rob yet. Mom explained to me that she was concerned as Rob was serving time in an Alberta jail for stealing to support his addictions, and that his inheritance could take him to the brink. After a short while, she agreed to speak with Rob before telling me what jail he was in.
Later that week I received a call from an Alberta correctional institution where an officer verified my identity and then after 3 months, Rob came on the line. He told me that he had hoped one day to meet his estranged father and he was saddened that was no longer possible.
Rob had a quiet, polite manner and throughout our conversation I learned that he had sought refuge in his addictions which had eventually consumed him. Rob sounded truly humbled and in disbelief that a second chance had come his way while sitting idly in a jail cell. Rob said, “It’s a second chance to be responsible and aim toward the highest good.” I couldn’t agree more.
Do you need to find a witness to interview, a defendant to serve, or the beneficiary of an estate? Feel free to contact me to discuss your file. I can help you move things along to the next stage.