In interrogation during trial, two credible witnesses must agree on the details of the crime. There are two forms of questions (see Sanhedrin 40a) hakiroth and bedikot:
We learned: They were examined with seven hakiroth: In which septennate (7 year period) [was the crime committed], in which year, in which month, on what day of the month, on what day [of the week]. at which hour and in which place?
Hakiroth, are facts of the time and place. Bedikoth, deals with other details of the case. The importance of these two kinds of questioning are outlined:
What is the difference between hakiroth and bedikoth? In hakiroth, if one of [the witnesses] replied. ‘I do not know’, their testimony is null; in bedikoth, even if both declare, ‘We do not know’, their testimony is valid.
If factual questions cannot be answered accurately the accused is given the benefit of the doubt.
The rabbis continue to discuss how precise this notion of time must be (again, given that there are no watches or ubiquitous clocks). Can they agree within an hour or two or three? Yes, under some circumstances – and the rabbis disagree as to the specifics. But not between day and night or between hours when the sun is in the East or the West.
This correlates to the discussion of times for eating leaven.
R. Ashi said: As there is a controversy in respect of testimony, so is there a controversy in respect of leaven.
The exact hours may be in dispute, and some latitude is allowed. But there are limits!