Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases: Evidential, Investigative and Scientific Perspectives

Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases: Evidential, Investigative and Scientific Perspectives


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Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases: Evidential, Investigative and Scientific Perspectives by Pamela Radcliffe

Sexual cases are inherently complex and sometimes controversial presenting the practitioner with a multitude of procedural and legal challenges. The increasing number of sexual cases, often historic, places significant demands upon the criminal justice system. Sexual offending is recognized as a specialist area which demands unique skills from the practitioner and handling witness testimony in these cases calls for skills and knowledge that encompass both law and science.

Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases focuses on legal and scientific considerations that arise when obtaining and evaluating sexual complaint testimony. It provides comprehensive and balanced coverage of this difficult and challenging topic across the complete spectrum of involvement in the legal process.

This book equips legal professionals with an understanding of current legal and scientific issues when investigating, evaluating and testing witness testimony in sexual cases. Using a didactic approach the book combines an exposition on the law and procedure with a range of specialist perspectives on cognitive processes pertaining to vulnerable and non-vulnerable witnesses. The book identifies psychiatric and psychological factors that may enhance or impair the quality of witness testimony for instance where a witness suffers from mental health problems or where long-term memory recall is involved.

The book provides practitioners with an understanding of factors which tend to undermine the reliability of witness testimony, but also focuses on those factors which may enhance witness quality. Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases draws together learning not readily available and encourages an integral and rigorous approach to the analysis of witness testimony in the special context of sexual cases.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199672936
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 03/21/2016
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Pamela Radcliffe, Barrister and Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, ,Gisli H. Gudjonsson CBE, Professor Emeritus of Forensic Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London; Professor of Psychology at Reykjavik University, ,Anthony Heaton-Armstrong, Barrister in independent practice, ,David Wolchover, Barrister in independent practice,

Pamela Radcliffe was called to the Bar in 1979. Her practice has spanned both criminal (defending) and family jurisdictions, encompassing a broad range of complex and grave allegations, including serious sexual assault. Radcliffe's academic interest lies in the interface between psychology and the law, especially memory science and criminal justice issues associated with serious sexual allegations. She advocates an interdisciplinary approach towards professional legal education. Radcliffe is also interested in European justice models and comparative approaches towards the investigation and trial treatment of serious sexual crime. She is a Visiting Research Fellow with the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. She has addressed criminal justice professionals, academics and charitable organisations on aspects of serious sexual crime and related criminal justice issues.

Gisli H Gudjonsson CBE is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He is a registered practitioner (clinical and forensic) with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). He is an Emeritus Professor of Forensic Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and a Professor of Psychology at Reykjavik University. Prior to his retirement from King's College London on 1st January 2012 he was the Head of Forensic Psychology Services for the Lambeth Forensic Services and Medium Secure Unit at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM). He has as extensive experience as an expert witness in cases involving witness testimony and was a lay magistrate in Croydon between 1990-1999. Professor Gudjonsson has been awarded two lifetime achievement awards and was appointed CBE in 2011 for his contribution to clinical psychology. He is still active in conducting research and publishing academic papers relevant to psychology and law.

Anthony Heaton-Armstrong is a practising barrister and author of numerous published texts concerning criminal investigations and procedure and lead editor of the book's two predecessors, Analysing Witness Testimony and Witness Testimony: Psychological, Investigative and Evidential Perspectives . He has very extensive experience of acting as a defence and prosecution advocate in cases involving allegations of serious sexual assault and is on the Crown Prosecution Service panel of specialist rape prosecutors. He has served on a number of Government Committees tasked to consider improvements to the England and Wales criminal justice system and is legal editor of Medicine Science and the Law, the journal of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences. He is a trustee of the charity 'Witness Confident', and the General Council of the Bar's representative on the Forensic Science Regulator's Quality Standards Specialist Group.

David Wolchover has been a barrister in independent practice for well over forty years, specialising in criminal defence work at all levels of complexity and gravity. For over ten years he was Head of Chambers at 7 Bell Yard (now Church Court Chambers). He is the author or co-author of a number of text-books and numerous articles and papers mainly on criminal evidence and procedure, is an acknowledged expert on, among other topics, PACE, bail, visual identification procedures and certain aspects of the trial of sexual offences and has been instrumental in securing a number of legislative and procedural criminal justice reforms. His particular interest in the recording of witness statements and visual identification has led to his becoming an acknowledged expert on the "Lockerbie Bombing", the destruction of Pan Am flight 103.

Table of Contents

Part I: Evidential perspectives
1. Witness testimony: Context, vulnerabilities and issues
2. Prosecuting sexual offences in England and Wales
3. Disclosure issues in the investigation and trial of allegations of sexual assault
4. Abuse of process and delayed prosecutions
5. Two Aspects of the Statutory restriction on introducing the complainant s sexual history
6. Bad Character provisions and their application to sexual offences
7. Expert evidence in trials of sexual offences
8. Defending serious sexual assault: Ethical and effective advocacy
9. Sexual allegations against medical professionals
10. Sexual allegations and evidence gathering in the family court
11. International case studies
12. Institutional abuse inquiries
Part II: Investigative and scientific perspectives
13. Analysing and improving the testimony of vulnerable witnesses interviewed under the Achieving Best Evidence protocol.
14. Investigative practice
15. Providing for the needs of witnesses
16. Understanding what children say: Avoiding the pitfalls of child testimony
17. Forensic science, forensic medicine and sexual crime
18. The interpretation of clinical signs of sexual abuse in children
19. Child and adolescent sexual assault examinations: Good practice and key issues
20. Common psychiatric, psychological and learning disorders and treatment
21. Neurological memory disorders
22. Memory and reliability: Developments and controversial issues
23. How misconceptions about memory may undermine witness testimony
24. Pathological lying
25. Conclusion

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