Difference between questioning in an Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interview and cross examination

It is important to note that there are many differences between questioning during a police ABE interview and questioning in cross examination.

 

Typically an ABE interviewer tries to elicit information from the witness, using a non-judgemental and non-leading manner of speaking, allowing the witness to take the lead. Questioning during cross examination is more emotionally and linguistically demanding, as the advocate typically challenges details within the witness’ evidence, and controls the flow and pace of the interaction.

 

Emotions and stress can have a negative effect on a witness’s apparent ability to understand and respond to questions. What a witness can do during a typical conversation with familiar people or even during the ABE interview can be misleading, when compared to their performance in a highly stressful situation e.g. Court. The more complex a question, the less likely a witness will be able to process the information correctly, when highly anxious.

 

It is important that a witness’ emotional state is regulated such that they are able to understand and respond to questions so that they are able to participate effectively with the trial. An intermediary is able to facilitate such emotional regulation in a manner that emotions do not impact a witness's effective participation with the trial process.