Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Don Thomson

Abstract

The impact on juries of pre-recording children's evidence was investigated. University undergraduate students (N = 123; 91 females, 32 males) volunteered to participate in the study as mock jurors. Participants either watched a videotape or read a transcript of a simulated trial involving a child sexual abuse case. Participants who watched the videotape saw the child give evidence either by closed circuit television or by a pre-re-cording. Participants who read the transcript were advised the child's evidence had been given via closed circuit television or had been pre-recorded. After viewing the videotape or reading the transcript, participants completed a questionnaire that asked them to rate the credibility of each witness on a 5-point Likert scale and recall trial-related information for each witness. They were also asked to state n verdict - guilty or not guilty. There were no differences for ratings of credibility or recall of trial-related information between conditions. There also were no differences in verdict as a function of the way the child gave evidence, either by closed circuit television or pre-recorded evidence, or the way the trial was presented, either watching the videotape or reading the transcript of the trial. There was a difference for gender for verdicts where males returned not guilty verdicts more often than females but there was no interaction between gender and the way the child presented evidence, and gender and the way the trial was presented. A number of explanations for the findings of the study are discussed .

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