Turning Mirrors into Windows?: Assessing the Impact of (Mock) Juror Education in Rape Trials

Posted: 27 Apr 2009

See all articles by Louise Ellison

Louise Ellison

University of Leeds; University of Manchester - School of Law

Vanessa E. Munro

University of Nottingham

Date Written: May 2009

Abstract

In 2006, the Government proposed allowing prosecutors in England and Wales to adduce ‘general’ expert witness testimony in rape cases. This initiative was based on two assumptions-first, that jurors currently lack an adequate understanding of rape complainants’ post-assault behaviour (which, in turn, generates inappropriate inferences regarding credibility) and, second, that expert testimony offers a useful vehicle for addressing such juror ignorance. In a previous article, the authors reported on a mock jury study that provided empirical support for the first of these claims-at least in regard to a complainant's calm demeanour, delayed reporting or lack of physical resistance. In this article, the authors investigate whether educational guidance presented at trial-via expert testimony or an expansive judicial instruction-can have the intended beneficial impact of redressing popular misconceptions, thereby leading to a fairer assessment of complainant credibility in rape cases.

Suggested Citation

Ellison, Louise and Munro, Vanessa E., Turning Mirrors into Windows?: Assessing the Impact of (Mock) Juror Education in Rape Trials (May 2009). The British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 49, Issue 3, pp. 363-383, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1389115 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azp013

Louise Ellison (Contact Author)

University of Leeds ( email )

Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

University of Manchester - School of Law

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
United Kingdom

Vanessa E. Munro

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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