An ‘alibi’ is a piece of evidence or a statement used to prove that someone was somewhere else at the time a crime was committed, and therefore could not have committed the crime.
The word ‘alibi’ has its roots in Latin. It comes from the Latin phrase ‘alibi’, which means ‘elsewhere’ or ‘in another place’. This Latin term is a combination of the words ‘alius’, meaning ‘other’ or ‘another’, and ‘ibi’, meaning ‘there’ or ‘in that place’.
So, when someone provides an alibi, they are essentially saying they were ‘elsewhere’ or ‘in another place’ at the time the crime was committed, and therefore couldn’t have been involved.
Here are two examples to make it more clear:
Imagine that someone is accused of stealing a valuable painting from a museum. However, this person claims he was at a friend’s birthday party during the time of the theft. His friend, along with other guests at the party, can confirm that the accused person was indeed at the party when the theft occurred. In this case, the friend’s testimony serves as the accused person’s alibi, providing evidence that he couldn’t have committed the crime because he was elsewhere.
If someone is accused of breaking into a house and stealing jewelry, but security camera footage shows him at a different location at the time of the break-in, that footage acts as his alibi.
So, in essence, an alibi is like a person’s ‘proof of innocence’ because it shows they couldn’t have been involved in the crime due to being somewhere else at the time.