Can a blind person be an eyewitness? In simple words, it can be stated that a blind person has increased hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting abilities compared to a regular seeing person.
Thus, if the crime can be proven over these factors, such as a noise, or a strange smell, a blind person can be considered an acceptable witness.
We have a related article for you, you can read Can A Blind Person Own A Gun?
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What Is An Eyewitness – Can A Blind Person Be An Eyewitness?
A criminal trial is a reenactment of the past, proving the existence of the crime and the charge on one who committed it. It entails the presentation of tangible evidence as well as testimony from witnesses, especially eyewitnesses.
A witness is any person who gives testimonies and proofs on the basis of their personal experience rather than just mere speculation. “I saw that person break the window,” for instance, may be said by an ordinary witness.
While presenting physical evidence, the scientific paradigm has long been recognized, yet not in the case of presenting eyewitness testimony.
Eyewitness testimony is highly reliant on visual memory and viewpoint, both of which can be wrong. This propensity for inaccuracy has been established several times in situations of false convictions.
Despite the fact that the courts have long acknowledged the possibility for discrimination and bias to occur at any point of the process of identifying an eyewitness, efforts to address the issue have mainly consisted of issuing judicial notices and directing judges to use their good judgment based on their past experiences and common sense.
However, there are several instances where these instincts fail, and the decisions made based on eyewitness testimony are invalid.
Blind Eyewitness Testimony
There have been several debates over what criteria can be set for determining if a person can be an eyewitness or not. However, the majority of this discussion has been observed to decide if a blind person can give testimony in the court as an “eye witness.”
While several claim that this is not clearly possible since they cannot see and thus, cannot serve as valid eyewitnesses. However, several studies have found that the loss of one sense in a living being, especially humans, can intensify their ability of other primary senses.
In simple words, it can be stated that a blind person has increased hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting abilities compared to a regular seeing person. Thus, if the crime can be proven over these factors, such as a noise, or a strange smell, a blind person can be considered an acceptable witness.
This is to say, if they can recollect anything they heard, smelt, or touched, they may still be deemed a witness. Primarily, they can detect loud noises quite easily, such as the sound of a gunshot, for example, in case someone has been shot. They may also be able to hear screaming and shouting by either the victim or even the criminal, and other noises that may follow.
Still, it all depends on their viewpoint. In most cases, people declared medically blind can still see objects or even light at some level. This is to say that they still have a specific type of eyesight, or they might not be considered a trustworthy witness by the jury.
This is particularly valuable in cases where an individual cannot possibly observe a crime visually. For example, it is not easy to observe a homicide because the murderer might get aware of them, putting the witness in danger.
How Can A Blind Person Attest?
They can only attest to some sound, in this case. Even yet, sounds are perceived differently by each individual. For example, to a person who has never heard a gunshot before, it might sound like the noise of fireworks.
Also, make sure to check out my post on Can A Blind Person Drive A Car?
The blind individual must be pretty convinced that they are testifying for the exact thing they have heard or that they know what the noise source was, yet in most cases, it has been mistaken for something else.
Furthermore, another possibility is that if the murder has been committed using a different weapon or method, it might be more challenging for a blind person to establish what happened because they have not been able to witness the crime visually; thus, the testimony may not be accurate.
Q: Can a blind person be a reliable eyewitness?
A: Yes, a blind person can be a reliable eyewitness as long as they can provide accurate information about what they heard, smelled, or felt.
Q: How can a blind person identify someone they have never met before?
A: A blind person can identify someone by their voice, scent, or the sound of their footsteps. They can also use touch to get a sense of the person’s physical features.
Q: Are there any limitations to a blind person’s ability to be an eyewitness?
A: Yes, there are limitations. For example, a blind person may not be able to provide accurate information about visual details, such as the color or shape of an object.
Q: Can a blind person testify in court?
A: Yes, a blind person can testify in court. In fact, there are laws in place that protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to participate in legal proceedings. The court may also provide accommodations, such as a Braille transcript or an audio recording of the proceedings.
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