Mock Jury Perceptions of Vulnerable Defendants Assisted in Court by Intermedaries - Are Juror’s Expectations Violated?

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Abstract

Non-registered intermediaries facilitate communication between the courts and vulnerable defendants. Although the role has generally been well received by practitioners, concerns have been raised regarding whether it jeopardises the fairness of legal proceedings. This study is the first to explore the influence of an intermediary on jurors’ perceptions of a vulnerable defendant, in light of expectancy violation theory. This was achieved by mock jurors completing a questionnaire relating to their perceptions of a vulnerable defendant pre and post testimony. The juror’s expectations were violated/exceeded when the intermediary accompanied the defendant. However, this had no negative implications for the outcome of the case. In fact, the defendant accompanied by an intermediary was perceived more positively than the defendant who was unassisted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
JournalApplied Psychology in Criminal Justice
Volume15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2019

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legal proceedings
testimony
fairness
questionnaire
communication

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title = "Mock Jury Perceptions of Vulnerable Defendants Assisted in Court by Intermedaries - Are Juror’s Expectations Violated?",
abstract = "Non-registered intermediaries facilitate communication between the courts and vulnerable defendants. Although the role has generally been well received by practitioners, concerns have been raised regarding whether it jeopardises the fairness of legal proceedings. This study is the first to explore the influence of an intermediary on jurors’ perceptions of a vulnerable defendant, in light of expectancy violation theory. This was achieved by mock jurors completing a questionnaire relating to their perceptions of a vulnerable defendant pre and post testimony. The juror’s expectations were violated/exceeded when the intermediary accompanied the defendant. However, this had no negative implications for the outcome of the case. In fact, the defendant accompanied by an intermediary was perceived more positively than the defendant who was unassisted.",
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N2 - Non-registered intermediaries facilitate communication between the courts and vulnerable defendants. Although the role has generally been well received by practitioners, concerns have been raised regarding whether it jeopardises the fairness of legal proceedings. This study is the first to explore the influence of an intermediary on jurors’ perceptions of a vulnerable defendant, in light of expectancy violation theory. This was achieved by mock jurors completing a questionnaire relating to their perceptions of a vulnerable defendant pre and post testimony. The juror’s expectations were violated/exceeded when the intermediary accompanied the defendant. However, this had no negative implications for the outcome of the case. In fact, the defendant accompanied by an intermediary was perceived more positively than the defendant who was unassisted.

AB - Non-registered intermediaries facilitate communication between the courts and vulnerable defendants. Although the role has generally been well received by practitioners, concerns have been raised regarding whether it jeopardises the fairness of legal proceedings. This study is the first to explore the influence of an intermediary on jurors’ perceptions of a vulnerable defendant, in light of expectancy violation theory. This was achieved by mock jurors completing a questionnaire relating to their perceptions of a vulnerable defendant pre and post testimony. The juror’s expectations were violated/exceeded when the intermediary accompanied the defendant. However, this had no negative implications for the outcome of the case. In fact, the defendant accompanied by an intermediary was perceived more positively than the defendant who was unassisted.

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