When Are Two Witnesses Better Than One?
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Even if two testimonies in a criminal trial are independent, they are not necessarily more trustworthy than one. But if they are independent in the sense that they are screened off from one another by the crime, then two testimonies raise the probability of guilt above the level that one testimony alone could achieve. In fact this screening-off condition can be weakened without changing the conclusion. It is however only a sufficient, not a necessary condition for concluding that two witnesses are better than one. We will discuss two different conditions, each of them necessary as well as sufficient, and we conclude that one of them is slightly better than the other.