Vernehmungscoaching

“We humans all or almost all love to give our assumptions certainty or, if we have some reason to believe them, to be certain;

and yet some probable things are untrue, like some unlikely things are true. "

Aurelius Augustinus

"All people are liars"

Psalm 116, 11

It is truly a swaying bridge

which the judge enters when he hits one

Witness evidence led to a conviction.

Max Alsberg

Nowhere is so much lied

like in court.

Rolf Bender, StV 1982, 484

A hundred rabbits never become a horse

and no evidence for a hundred suspected reasons.

Fyodor Michailowitsch Dostojewski, guilt and atonement

The above statements only give an idea of ​​what the love of truth of witnesses and experts in court (and of course before) is all about.

In addition, or perhaps restrictively, it should also be noted that not everyone who deviates from the truth in court actually lies. Sometimes it is only the truth that the witness feels subjectively. Maybe he's just the victim of a clever interrogation strategy. Witnesses are often suggestible. This is especially true for children. It is very important to distinguish here whether you are dealing with a notorious liar or someone who has been "explained" beforehand what the truth is. Sometimes the witness simply announces "his" truth. No matter how it came about.

Keyword: Pygmalion effect or Rosenthal effect. What is behind it?

It can often be observed that investigators "target" a certain crime scene, which also targets a suspect. We then speak of a one-sided, knowledge-guiding investigation hypothesis. This then regularly leads to a pre-setting that works on the principle of cognitive dissonance: If the civil servant assumes a certain situation before the interview, he will preferably only ask for the information that confirms his conviction and avoids others. Conversely, there is a danger that witnesses will confirm what the hearer wants to hear for the sake of the interrogator (so-called pygmalion effect). This effect goes back to the American psychologist Rosenthal, who has researched this effect among students and teachers. In relation to our topic, this means that the investigator triggers a "learning effect" on the witness. The witness quickly realizes which information is suitable for him and which is not. This is achieved not only by the interrogator expressing this explicitly, but above all by sending out non-verbal signs that implicitly signal to the witness that this statement was good or it was not so good. This can happen, for example, by frowning or paralinual forms of expression such as raising the voice or otherwise by any kind of verbal, nonvebal or paralingual forms of expression. that the interrogator expresses this explicitly, but above all by sending out non-verbal signs that implicitly signal to the witness that this statement was good or it was not so good. This can happen, for example, by frowning or paralinual forms of expression such as raising the voice or otherwise by any kind of verbal, nonvebal or paralingual forms of expression. that the interrogator expresses this explicitly, but above all by sending out non-verbal signs that implicitly signal to the witness that this statement was good or it was not so good. This can happen, for example, by frowning or paralinual forms of expression such as raising the voice or otherwise by any kind of verbal, nonvebal or paralingual forms of expression.

Once the witness has "learned" what the interrogator wants to hear, he orients himself on this knowledge, which sometimes even leads to obedience leading ahead. According to the communication model by Friedemann Schulz von Thun, this process takes place on the appeal level.

A first source of error is the so-called preliminary discussion. This applies not only to testimony, but also primarily to questioning suspects. During these "preliminary talks" it is not uncommon for "investigators" to generate "spontaneous statements", which then appear as such later in the questioning of the suspect. Of course, this is an inadmissible circumvention of the instruction obligation.

A popular game of law enforcement officers is to leave the person being questioned unclear about the role in which they are being questioned. If it is already clear that this is a suspect, he must be informed accordingly. Even people who are initially questioned as witnesses can easily become accused in the course of the questioning. The necessary "qualified instruction" is then often omitted. This partly out of ignorance and partly quite consciously.

As you can see, the course for the course and the result of a criminal trial is set the first time you contact the investigative authorities. In this respect, it is important to know how such mechanisms work, how they are logged and how you can determine the course and course of contact with the investigators.

Another field is the statement itself. According to the basic judgment of the Federal Court of Justice of 30 July 1999 ( BGHSt 45, 164 ff.), The focus is no longer on assessing the credibility of the test person, but on the credibility of the testimony of a person. The criteria that need to be observed in this respect differ significantly from those of the predominantly subjectively colored credibility of a person.

The subjective gut feeling of the public prosecutor or judge or their subjectively felt life and work experience are criteria for the question of whether a statement can be believed or not. The credibility assessment of statements is based on various scientifically based criteria, which the BGH has made binding in the aforementioned judgment, expertly advised.

The following diagram provides an overview.

Please click to enlarge

I advise and coach law firms nationwide on interrogation teaching, interrogation tactics and interrogation law.