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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2012

Brendan M. O'Mahony

This paper's aim is to examine the interaction between an intermediary, a vulnerable defendant and barristers and the judge in a courtroom. The paper seeks to consider how…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper's aim is to examine the interaction between an intermediary, a vulnerable defendant and barristers and the judge in a courtroom. The paper seeks to consider how the communication needs of vulnerable defendants, such as those with learning disabilities, should be addressed in the criminal justice system.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper considers the legal landscape for dealing with vulnerable defendants. A case example and court and police interview transcripts are then used to illustrate some of the communication needs of vulnerable people in the criminal justice system.

Findings

The paper highlights the complexities of the language that is used by lawyers in the courtroom and the difficulties that this can cause for a vulnerable defendant. Additionally, this paper reveals the difficulties that the police caution can present to a vulnerable suspect in custody.

Social implications

Vulnerable witnesses or defendants may be disadvantaged in understanding questions and the implications of answers that they provide in a courtroom or in attendance at a police station. The criminal justice system should support these individuals and provide guidance and training to professionals. The author identifies a need for more research in this area.

Originality/value

This is one of the first published papers to examine the interaction between an intermediary, a vulnerable defendant and barristers and the judge in the courtroom. The paper considers how the communication needs of vulnerable defendants should be addressed in the criminal justice system.

Details

Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-0927

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 July 2010

Jenny Talbot and Jessica Jacobson

Although precise numbers are unknown, it is generally acknowledged that between 5‐10% of the offending population are people with learning disabilities. While there are…

Abstract

Although precise numbers are unknown, it is generally acknowledged that between 5‐10% of the offending population are people with learning disabilities. While there are few provisions that explicitly target defendants with learning disabilities there is a general recognition in law that defendants must be able to understand and participate effectively in the criminal proceedings of which they are a part. The implications of the principle of effective participation are that criminal prosecution may be deemed inappropriate for certain defendants with learning disabilities, in which case they may be diverted away from criminal justice and into health care. There is scope for a variety of measures to be put into place to support defendants with learning disabilities to maximise their chances of participating effectively. However, in terms of statutory provision, there is a lack of parity between vulnerable witnesses and vulnerable defendants. Further, the absence of effective screening procedures to identify defendants' learning disabilities means that their support needs often go unrecognised and unmet.

Details

Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-0927

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 29 November 2021

Emma Forbes

Abstract

Details

Victims' Experiences of the Criminal Justice Response to Domestic Abuse: Beyond GlassWalls
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-386-5

Article
Publication date: 13 April 2009

Jay Aylett

This paper describes the development of a multi‐agency model for adult protection training in Kent and Medway and sets this in the context of the evolution of wider adult…

Abstract

This paper describes the development of a multi‐agency model for adult protection training in Kent and Medway and sets this in the context of the evolution of wider adult protection policy and competence. The rationale for the planning and development of the model is outlined and the content and coverage of the different levels of training are described. Key issues include the progression of staff and managers and the implementation and operation of the model. These are explored in relation to the different demands on the safeguarding activities in Kent and Medway and the different agency and professional interests at stake. Future developments are also briefly mapped and discussed.

Details

The Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1466-8203

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 December 2015

Fergus Douds and Fabian Haut

The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolution of legislation relevant to people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) since the Scottish Parliament came into being…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolution of legislation relevant to people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) since the Scottish Parliament came into being in 1999; this will be particularly relevant to practitioners working with people with IDs within mental health and forensic mental health services.

Design/methodology/approach

A descriptive review of the relevant legislation, setting this out in the chronological order in which the legislation was enacted.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that legislative reform is a dynamic and evolving process, responsive to social, political and legal agendas.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited to a description of the relevant legislation in only one part of the UK (Scotland).

Practical implications

A helpful summary of the relevant legislation is provided which should be of particular value to readers/practitioners from outwith Scotland.

Originality/value

The paper provides an up to date account of the legislative reform in Scotland during the period 1999-2015.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 6 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Christopher Godwin and Kathryn Mackay

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceived low number of Scottish criminal convictions in cases of ill-treatment or wilful neglect of adults where the victims…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceived low number of Scottish criminal convictions in cases of ill-treatment or wilful neglect of adults where the victims experienced mental disorder, and/or incapacity. Human rights and anti-discrimination legislation are drawn upon to consider whether victims are gaining equality of access to justice through the charging and conviction of those who commit these offences.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses the concept of parity of participation to first set out the wider legal framework in which access of justice takes place and to try to determine how it may be working in practice. Second the paper explores Scottish guidance, research and case law in relation ill-treatment or wilful neglect to evaluate the seeming lack of progress towards criminal convictions.

Findings

Whilst the legal framework, at least on paper, appears to promote equality of access to justice, little is known about how it is working in practice; in particular whether cultural barriers to participation are being addressed. Evaluation of Scottish statistical data on cases of ill-treatment and wilful neglect revealed a small number of cases progressing to court though there were challenges in constructing a pathway from charges to convictions. There also appeared to be no Scottish legal opinions published in connection with these cases. In addition lack of research means that little is known about why cases progress, and how victims might be being supported through the process.

Research limitations/implications

It is suggested that these gaps in information, in comparison to England and Wales, might be hindering practice. In particular the apparent lack of operational definitions for ill-treatment and wilful neglect in Scotland may reduce the use of this type of criminal offence. As such criminal offences embedded within civil mental health and mental capacity legislation may currently be hidden in plain sight. The human rights consequences of the issues raised in this paper are argued as significant. Research is needed to fill these gaps and inform future guidance and training.

Practical implications

Improved Scottish guidance and publicity of this issue is required. Local inter-agency discussions and training could develop a better understanding of how these offences have been defined and how disabled people might be supported through the legal processes. The Scottish publication of statistical information for charging and convictions might usefully record these offences separately to give them a greater public profile in the future.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the dearth of publicly available information on the number and nature of Scottish prosecutions for ill-treatment or wilful neglect. It suggest ways in how this might be addressed.

Details

The Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1466-8203

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 May 2011

Brendan M. O'Mahony, Kevin Smith and Becky Milne

The purpose of this paper is to examine how Registered Intermediaries are used in the England and Wales to facilitate communication between vulnerable witnesses, victims…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how Registered Intermediaries are used in the England and Wales to facilitate communication between vulnerable witnesses, victims and police investigators and criminal courts.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper focuses on the need for early identification of the vulnerable person so that support measures can be put in place from the outset to assist them to provide their testimony.

Findings

It is noted that real progress has been made by the introduction of legislation, specifically the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act (1999), and the uptake by the police service of the subsequent special measures put in place. However, the criminal justice service cannot afford to be complacent as research demonstrates that the police and the courts need to be more effective in managing these issues.

Originality/value

The paper recommends that support measures are widened to include witnesses and suspects being interviewed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, HM Customs and Revenue, the Department of Health and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

Brendan M. O'Mahony, Jane Creaton, Kevin Smith and Rebecca Milne

– The purpose of this paper is to find out how intermediaries interpret their role working with vulnerable defendants at court.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find out how intermediaries interpret their role working with vulnerable defendants at court.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study six intermediaries who have worked with defendants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview and the interview transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings

Intermediaries appeared to be trying to make sense of their developing identities as professionals in the courtroom and this theme is conceptualised through social identity complexity theory.

Practical implications

Health and care professionals undertaking a new function in the criminal justice sector should receive training about the psychological processes underlying developing professional identities. Such training should reduce the cognitive load when they work in the new environment and failure to undertake this training may lead to less efficient practice. Gaining an understanding of their professional positioning within the court environment may assist with retention of intermediaries in this new role.

Originality/value

This is the first published study where intermediaries have been interviewed about their experiences with defendants. Recommendations are made including the requirement for additional training for intermediaries to understand the underlying psychological processes and conflicts they may experience when working with defendant cases.

Details

Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 January 2018

Brendan M. O’Mahony, Becky Milne and Kevin Smith

Intermediaries facilitate communication with many types of vulnerable witnesses during police investigative interviews. The purpose of this paper is to find out how…

1980

Abstract

Purpose

Intermediaries facilitate communication with many types of vulnerable witnesses during police investigative interviews. The purpose of this paper is to find out how intermediaries engage in their role in cases where the vulnerable witness presents with one type of vulnerability, namely, dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Design/methodology/approach

In phase 1, data were obtained from the National Crime Agency Witness Intermediary Team (WIT) to ascertain the demand for intermediaries in DID cases in England and Wales within a three-year period. In phase 2 of this study four intermediaries who had worked with witnesses with DID completed an in-depth questionnaire detailing their experience.

Findings

Referrals for DID are currently incorporated within the category of personality disorder in the WIT database. Ten definite DID referrals and a possible additional ten cases were identified within this three-year period. Registered Intermediary participants reported having limited experience and limited specific training in dealing with DID prior to becoming a Registered Intermediary. Furthermore, intermediaries reported the many difficulties that they experienced with DID cases in terms of how best to manage the emotional personalities that may present.

Originality/value

This is the first published study where intermediaries have shared their experiences about DID cases. It highlights the complexities of obtaining a coherent account from such individuals in investigative interviews.

Article
Publication date: 24 March 2011

Gisli Gudjonsson and Theresa Joyce

People with intellectual disabilities commonly come into contact with the criminal justice system as victims, witnesses or suspects. Their intellectual disabilities may…

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Abstract

People with intellectual disabilities commonly come into contact with the criminal justice system as victims, witnesses or suspects. Their intellectual disabilities may make them disadvantaged in relation to all components of the criminal justice system, including police interviews, fitness to plead and stand trial, capacity to give evidence in court, and issues to do with criminal responsibility and sentencing. The focus in this paper is on police interviews and the capacity of adults with intellectual disabilities to give evidence in Court. Research into the types of vulnerability seen by people interviewed by police have focused on interviewees' understanding of the Oath and their legal rights, suggestibility, acquiescence, compliance and perceptions of the consequences of making self‐incriminating admissions. The essential components of any interview and testifying in court require that the person can communicate effectively and give reliable answers and accounts of events. Research into police interviews has highlighted the importance of taking into account the interviewee's vulnerabilities and providing appropriate support, and suggests a more humane approach to interviews and when vulnerable people testify in Court.

Details

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1282

Keywords

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