Ensuring procedurally fair identification parades in South Africa

Authors Bobby Naudé

ISSN: 1996-2118
Affiliations: Professor of Law, Unisa
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 28 Issue 2, p. 188 – 203


The impact of system variables on the accuracy and fairness of identifications made during police identification parades with reference to the latest research is considered. System variables are factors that the criminal justice system should control, such as the way witness memory is retrieved and recorded. This discussion points to certain basic principles that should ensure fair identification parades and shows how our current identification parade procedures can be improved to help guarantee a fair trial for all accused persons. It is recommended that identification parades be conducted ‘blind’, sequentially, and that all identification parades be videotaped. More effort should be made to keep multiple identifying witnesses separate, and a confidence statement must be obtained from the identifying witness directly after a specific identification is made.