Boniface never had a clear memory of the order of the events that he was describing. When he wrote in the BOC that the officer “him hit him in the face, then spat on the ground and insulted him,” he could just as easily have written that the officer “insulted him, then spat on the ground and hit him in the face.” Boniface remembers that these three things happened, and both versions are just different ways of describing the same experience. If Boniface had read his BOC narrative many times, he might have remembered how he had described this event and he could have described it in the same way in his hearing.
A friend from her church had helped Annie to write her BOC narrative. “A day and a night” were this woman’s words, and at the time Annie had not seen any problem with this phrase. If Annie had reread her BOC narrative before the hearing, she still might not have imagined why Gary would be concerned about this wording. But she would at least have recognized the phrase and could have avoided making him frustrated by insisting that she had not written it.
Since Graciela spoke no English, a volunteer at a community centre had helped her to write her BOC narrative. When he had read it back to her in her own language, it had all sounded fine to her. But she was never given a copy in her own language, and even once she had learned some English, she had never gone back to read it again. If she had, she might have caught the mistake: she had told the worker that she had seen the shooting “on my way to school” but he had written “on my way home from school.” If she had caught this mistake, she would have corrected it.
By the day of her hearing, almost two years after she made her claim, Yvonne’s memory of the event had started to fade. It was an experience that she tried very hard not to think about. Reading over her BOC story would have reminded her of details that she had forgotten.