Psychology in the Courtroom Room

The Expert Witness

" How reliable is usually eyewitness testimony”

On the 29th of Sept. 2010 1999, a building contemporary society in Western world Bromwich was robbed by a man brandishing a gun. He had approached the cashier table and moved aside a buyer and then created a gun. He ordered three customers inside the bank to lie on to the floor. He then directed the firearm in the face of the cashier and told her to fill the bag with money. In doing so , she managed to boost the silent alarm alerting the police. After her compliance, the robber advised her to also sit on the floor in back of the desk. He aware the customers to not move prior to shooting his gun with the ceiling and running away.

The four witnesses had been then interviewed as a group by simply police at the scene from the crime. The first interview revealed many inconsistencies in the descriptions with the perpetrator and also the chain of events. Every witnesses acquired described a white men in his 30s with a regional accent. The group was split two: 2 for the robbers locks colour, two thought jaunatre and the others thought it was dark brown. The witnesses were then taken to the police station and interviewed separately. All four experienced now presented statements declaring the thief had blond hair. A lot less inconsistencies were found if the witnesses had been interviewed pertaining to the second period. A third interview was carried out a few weeks later to see if any longer details was remembered with the crime. An image was also shown to the witnesses to verify that they may confirm that he was the man they remembered in the robbery. Once again the group were divide, two believed it could be him and the other two had been unsure. All four witnesses a few months after, had used part within a line up through which they all chosen the same person as the robber inside the bank. The person they determined turned out to by the same man through the photo they were shown previously prior to the line-up. The man they identified was James Taylor swift.

James Taylor swift is a thirty-three year old with one past conviction for robbing a sweet store when he was 18. This individual spent 1 . 5 years in jail for this criminal offenses and was not in any trouble since. He became a suspect when an anonymous tip came in via a man having a local accent giving them James's name. The singer had said he had been in Wolverhampton at that time but cannot supply any witnesses to confirm his alibi.

The case visited trial prior to a jury which was sucked from the local area. There was no forensic proof linking Taylor to the crime scene nevertheless the prosecution asserted he was a nearby man with previous verite, that couldn't produce an alibi for his whereabouts. The case hinged on the four witnesses testimony's. In court, they confirmed the man they picked out inside the line-up, with one saying she was ‘absolutely certain' that Taylor was the man who held up the building society at weapon point. After a 45 day deliberation, the jury returned a guilt ridden verdict and sentenced Taylor to five years in prison.

To begin identifying the problems with the case and discover why the conviction was unsafe one must focus on the initial officers attending(FOA). The job of your FOA is to immediately deal with injured folks at the criminal offense scene. Then they should separate eyewitnesses from one another to prevent conversations together that might distort their thoughts and to stay away from the transfer of trace facts, A, Knutson. J, Jackson(2008). However , the 4 witnesses were first interviewed as a group. During this interview, there were inconsistency's with the decision of the criminals hair colour. After the witnesses has paid attention to each other's stories, two had chosen to change their minds and agree his locks colour was after all blond. This is a problem with the testimony utilized in the trial, as all the witnesses had been interviewed as a group. Due to social desirability and conformity they changed their very own remembrance of characteristics. A good example of social conformity can be the result of Solomon Asch's visual thinking...

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A, R. Jackson, J, Jackson(2008)Forensic science. Second Edition. Pearson education limited, Essex Great britain. Page 23.

E, Loftus. T, Can burn. (1982)Mental Surprise can Produce Retrograde Amnesia. Storage and cognition. Vol. 10(4), Page 318-323, University of Washington, Detroit.

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SCool(2013)Conformity key studies. The revision site.[Online]Readily available: www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/psychology/social-influence/revise-it/conformity-key-studies

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