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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78080 Find in a Library
Title: Barristers and Police Expert Witnesses
Journal: Australian Police Journal  Volume:35  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1981)  Pages:11-28
Author(s): L W Timewell
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: A survey of barristers in Victoria, Australia, revealed that many have considerable reservations about police experts' objectivity, education, skills, and training.
Abstract: The survey was prompted by a belief that a disturbing number of barristers doubted the objectivity of police expert witnesses, a belief confirmed by the survey's results. For example, 19 percent responded positively to a question asking if police background is a cause of police experts' lack of objectivity, and 70 percent indicated that tertiary education was the minimal acceptable level of education for such witnesses. Moreover, 75 percent of respondents believe that the setting of standards for police service. Yet barristers with prosecution experience were less likely to be critical of police objectivity, and the degree of dissatisfaction with police experts was not as widespread as imagined. Nevertheless, improvement of the situation is warranted and might include specific police action to improve the image of their experts and more requirements for tertiary education. Perhaps the expert should be taken out of the adversary system and be made a true servant of the court. Appendixes present the survey instrument and additional comments made by barristers. Eight references and seven selected readings are cited.
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Attorneys; Australia; Expert witnesses; Police effectiveness
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