Title

Innocent narratives: wrongful conviction, Australian Story and the influence on public opinion

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Routledge

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

School

School of Law and Justice

RAS ID

17392

Comments

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Continuum on 28 October 2013 as: Stratton, G. C. (2013). Innocent narratives: wrongful conviction, Australian Story and the influence on public opinion. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 27(6), 875-885. Available online here

Abstract

In Western Australia, the fallibility of the criminal justice system has been highlighted by three high-profile cases of wrongful conviction. As a narrative, the fallibility of the justice system was the focus of a series of stories on the wrongful convictions of John Button, Andrew Mallard and three men accused of the murder of Phillip Walsham, by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Australian Story. Unique to these stories was the case of Phillip Walsham's death, which generated heated public debate, accusations of bias and backlash towards the three men wrongfully accused of murder. By focusing on these stories and their representations through Australian Story, this paper aims to identify how various stylistic devices of documentary-making influenced the public reaction of particular narratives by comparing three different approaches to wrongful conviction. This investigation is important in the context of successful exonerees who are required to challenge accepted narratives of their former crimes and avoid potentially destructive consequences of negative public opinion.

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