Trovärdighetsbedömningen av muntliga utsagor i brottmålsprocessen
Sammanfattning: In some criminal cases, the only existing evidence is the verbal statement of a witness or the plaintiff. The typical example is an alleged rape where victim and perpetrator have had some kind of relation, and their records of the incident differ. In these cases, the assessment of the value of the evidence drawn from the plaintiff's story is of crucial importance. On the one hand, a false positive judgment means that a person is wrongly convicted, on the other hand, a failure to correctly identify a truthful claim of rape means that a victim of a severe crime is left without judicial remedy. That the prosecutor must prove that the crime is committed by the defendant without reasonable doubt, means that there is much more chance of a failure to convict guilty felons, than of the opposite. In the essay, the rules of criminal procedure directed at the evaluation of the verbal statement are identified and critically evaluated from the perspective of how they may or may not facilitate the judgment of a verbal statement presented before the court, either in person, or through other media such as video. Current psychological research on people's ability to discern truth from lie, from the viewpoint of the sender as well as the judge, is described. The essay shows that the rules of procedure, those that regulate the allowing of evidence, as well as those that guarantee the parties’ fair trial, and rules directed at the legal procedure before the court may facilitate as well as improve the assessment of credibility of a verbal statement. However, the instruments that the judges use to value the truthfulness in a statement has received mixed support in the psychological research, which in turn tends to be performed in an artificial environment foreign to the legal procedure, and using students rather than professionals as research subjects. Attributes inherent to the judge may influence his or her evaluation of the credibility of a statement.
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