The effect of children's testimony format on juror decision-making.
McClintock, Alice Christina
A number of factors can influence the outcome of a child abuse trial. Of interest, is the use of pre-recorded evidential interviews. This provision reduces the effects of stress on the child’s testimony but also provides the opportunity for the interview to be truncated, allowing the jury to receive only some portions of the child’s testimony. In many child abuse cases, this procedure also means that a jury do not always view all of the information that is relevant to the core charges. Research has demonstrated that truncated testimony in the form of a written transcript, does not affect the likelihood that a defendant will be found guilty or not guilty. The aim of the present experiment was to examine whether the truncation of a child’s testimony presented via pre-recorded video has an effect on the outcome of a trial. Mock jurors evaluated a child’s evidential interview presented via either pre-recorded video or in a written transcript that included only a core allegation or that included two additional, less plausible allegations. Contrary to our hypothesis, viewing the video had no effect on mock jurors’ verdicts regarding the core allegation, even when that allegation was presented in the presence of additional, less plausible allegations. This finding suggests that current legislation that allows the use of pre-recorded evidential interviews may not influence the outcome of a child abuse trial.
Advisor: Hayne, Harlene; Gross, Julien
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Children's testimony; Testimony format; Juror decision-making
Research Type: Thesis