n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - System variables and eyewitness testimony

Volume 18, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Eyewitness testimony is often the most influential evidence that can be introduced during legal proceedings. However, it is equally true that numerous variables can influence the witnesses' ability to accurately identify persons, remember events and provide reliable testimony. It is therefore of the utmost importance that experts working in the crime and legal arena should always be well informed about new research and changing views in this field. This is the second of a two-article series, the first focusing on estimator variables (, 18, 2005, pp 21-39). In this second article a review of the latest viewpoints and research concerning system variables will be discussed. System variables refer to factors which have the potential to influence witness accuracy between the first contact with law enforcement and the final testimony in court. Although it seems that system variables have received less research attention than estimator variables, it is also accepted that they could have a significant influence on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.

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