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Judicial intervention in court cases involving witnesses with and without learning disabilities

O'Kelly, C M E and Kebbell, M R and Hatton, C and Johnson, S D (2003) Judicial intervention in court cases involving witnesses with and without learning disabilities. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 8. pp. 229-240. ISSN 1355-3259

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Abstract

Purpose. This paper outlines the extent and nature of judicial interventions in court cases involving witnesses with learning disabilities and from the general population. Method. Court transcripts, mainly concerning serious sexual crime, were obtained from a total of 32 witnesses, 16 involving people with learning disabilities and 16 involving people from the general population. Each intervention made by a judge was documented and coded into one of three categories: interactions with witnesses, interactions with lawyers, and interactions with the jury. Results. No significant differences were found between the judicial treatment of witnesses with learning disabilities and those from the general population. In particular, judges did not intervene more frequently to simplify lawyers' questions, call breaks, suggest methods by which a witness could reply, ask lawyers to simplify their questions, prevent oppression of the witness and move the lawyer on, and ensure the witness could understand the question. Conclusions. The implications of the findings are that judges should intervene, as they are legally entitled, to ensure that witnesses with and without learning disabilities give the most complete and accurate evidence possible.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Legal and Criminological Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: MENTAL-RETARDATION ; CONFIDENCE ; QUESTIONS ; ACCURACY ; PEOPLE ; ADULTS
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine > Health Research
ID Code: 51772
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2011 17:24
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 22:54
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/51772

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