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Dealing With Defense Strategy in He Said, She Said Cases

Posted on September 11, 2023 in Criminal Defense,Sex Crimes

Many sexual assault cases in Arizona involve “he said, she said” evidence, where someone is accused of a crime based on an unsubstantiated statement made by a witness or the alleged victim. Sexual assault is a serious allegation that can lead to severe consequences if you are convicted. If you are being accused of this crime, hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you combat he said, she said evidence with a strong defense strategy.

Burden of Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

The criminal justice system requires the prosecution to prove that the accused party (defendant) is guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden of proof in the justice system. While the police may take the word of an alleged sexual assault victim at face value without any other evidence to make an arrest, to achieve a criminal conviction, there must be evidence proving that the crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. This will generally take more than a statement by the victim alone. 

Your attorney will work to show that the prosecution has not met the burden of proof; that the case lacks evidence and that the jury therefore has no choice but to find you not guilty. Your attorney can point out the lack of any substantiated evidence to support the alleged victim’s claim, such as no witnesses to the incident, no medical proof and no police report. If the prosecution cannot present a stronger case to the jury than he said, she said evidence, the charges will most likely be dismissed or the defendant will be acquitted.

Cross-Examination of a Witness

If you are being accused of rape or another sex crime based on a statement made by another person, your Phoenix sexual abuse defense lawyer can cross-examine the witness on the stand. Your attorney can attempt to discredit the testimony of the alleged victim by revealing motives the individual has to fabricate testimony (e.g., revenge, a grudge or jealousy), pointing out inconsistencies in his or her story to undermine the witness’s credibility, and asking why the incident was not reported immediately. This could weaken the evidence against you.

Conflicting Evidence

 It may also be possible to find and present evidence that directly conflicts with the alleged victim’s story or version of events. An alibi, for example, may disprove the accuser’s timeline and show that you were not with him or her at the time of the alleged assault. Physical evidence, such as personal belongings, or DNA evidence may also be available to establish a wrong defendant defense. If your lawyer is using the defense of consent, evidence of this may be available, as well.

How to Protect Yourself in a He Said, She Said Case

In a he said, she said case, law enforcement officers will attempt to secure other evidence to support the allegations being brought against you – especially a confession. During a criminal investigation, it is important not to speak to a police officer without first contacting a Scottsdale criminal defense attorney to guide you through the criminal justice process.  

An officer may go to great lengths to obtain evidence against you, including setting up an interview early on before you have the chance to contact an attorney. Protect yourself by refusing to speak to a police officer without an attorney present.

In the past, corroboration of an alleged victim’s story by at least one other witness was a legal requirement to find someone guilty of rape or sexual assault. Today, however, corroboration is no longer required to validate the truthfulness of an individual’s testimony. This makes it more important to hire an attorney to help you fight sexual assault charges. 

For more information, contact a criminal defense lawyer at AZ Defenders to request a free case consultation.