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To a criminal psychologist, however, it is not just the external factors surrounding an eye witness' testimony that they would be interested in. the whole point of a witness testimony is to ask a witness

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Introduction

Behavioural Issues Coursework Student number-04003154 Kenneth Scott 25/11/05 Scottish criminal justice is a very complicated are of study. There are many different topics of thought that surround the Scottish criminal justice system, in terms of both physical and mental areas. The criminal justice system stems out into a number of different other subject areas mainly because criminal justice affects so many different fields in society. It's not just simply about police arresting criminals, the accused going to court and ending up the criminal goes to prison. There are many other extending factors connected with the process. There are many different officials involved each putting input into different areas of the process. As mentioned it is not just the police courts involved in the process but other types of people are influential in making the system work. Psychologists are an integral part on many different levels throughout the criminal process. They help people understand why a crime was committed and help other authorities with the convictions of accused people. There are number of things that psychologist can do to help in the conviction for example criminal profiling can be very useful when trying to catch a person. Also psychologists are used for research methods, trying to establish how important different aspects are. ...read more.

Middle

This could be either the witness themselves or the accused person. The last two factors that Cutler and Penrod identified, related to the situation the witness interview surrounds. These could be factors could affect the testimony largely or on the other hand could have a very minor affect on the witness' interview. The sixth out of the seven areas that were identifies is connected to the actual incident itself and the aspects surrounding it. There are lots of things that could affect the witness at the time of incident that would in turn affect the testimony. The amount of stress for one would be a factor. The witness may be frightened and would obviously remember less than someone with less stress upon them. Another example would be the length of time the incident occurred, so a quick assault would vary from a lengthy hostage situation. The last factor that Cutler and Penrod identified again relates the environment surrounding the taking of the witness statement. The two psychologists recognised that although events at the time of the actual incident are important, aspects that occur after the event has taken place are important also. These issues are ones that are more psychological than many of the others. Examples of these types of factors would be the length of time between the incident occurring and the witness testimony, unconscious transference and identification dynamics. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is more related for criminal witness as most of the time they are required to remember images of an event that took place in front of them. In conclusion in can easily be seen that eye witness testimony is a very interesting area in the world of criminal psychology. There are a number of factors that are relevant when evaluating and considering evidence given by an eye witness. The work carried out by Cutler and Penrod helps see the various issues that would affect an eye witness testimony. The seven factors cover everything that the police would take into account when cross examining the witness as well. Also the memory and perception of the witness is very important. Perception would be how the witness perceived the incident and criminal psychologists would be very interested in why they have perceived it in such a way. Memory goes without saying is very important. It relate to what the witness can remember about the incident. This could be using the short term memory for remembering a car registration plate and giving that information to attending police officers. It could also relate to the long term memory where a witness would remember aspects of a criminal incident weeks, months or even years after it occurred. All in all eye witness testimonies can be a very important topic to the Scottish Criminal Justice system. ...read more.

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