Title: The use of CCTV images in criminal trials: Psychological perspectives and legal limitations
Speakers: Professor Gary Edmond (UNSW Law) and Associate Professor Richard Kemp (UNSW Psych)
As a consequence of the ubiquity of CCTV systems in public places it is common for criminal prosecutions to include images of a perpetrator committing an offence. In these cases prosecutors sometimes make use of “expert” witnesses who seek to establish that these images are of the accused using practices known as facial mapping and body mapping. In this cross-disciplinary seminar we examine this practice from the perspectives of experimental psychology and law. Drawing on research on unfamiliar face matching, we explore the limited empirical evidence regarding the validity of this type of evidence, and use this to illustrate how legal responses have been largely inattentive to the validity and reliability of techniques used by expert witnesses in court. We conclude by discussing some of the challenges posed by excluding insufficiently reliable “expert” opinions if this means leaving questions of identification to lay judges and jurors.
Gary Edmond is a law professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Law at the University of New South Wales. He directs the Program in Expertise, Evidence and Law and is an active member of the Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law (NISL). Originally trained in the history and philosophy of science, he subsequently studied law at the University of Sydney and took a PhD in law from the University of Cambridge. An active commentator on expert evidence in Australia, England, the US and Canada, he is a member of the Society for the Social Study of Science (US), a reviewer for the National Science Foundation (US), the SSHRC (Canada) and ESRC (England), a member of the Council of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences, a member of Standards Australia’s forensic science committee, a member of the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, and served as an international adviser to the Goudge Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario (2007-2008). Gary is currently involved in a collaborative multidisciplinary project on expert ‘identification’ evidence with other lawyers, experimental psychologists and forensic scientists. With Andrew Ligertwood he is co-author of Australian Evidence: A principled approach to the common law and the uniform acts (5th ed. LexisNexis, 2010).
Richard Kemp is director of the Master of Psychology (Forensic) program in the school of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Richard’s background is in experimental and applied cognitive psychology. He was awarded his PhD from University College London in 1995 for his research on human face perception. In recent years Richard’s research has focused on the application of psychological knowledge to issues relating broadly to the legal system. His current research interests include the detection of fraud in passport applications, testing the validity and reliability of forensic science evidence, the accuracy of eyewitness evidence, face recognition, the impact of expert evidence and the effectiveness of prison based treatment programs for offenders.
Richard’s applied research is often undertaken in partnership with industry or governmental partners, and he has experience of working with the Banking Industry (Barclaycard), Government (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), Police Agencies (Metropolitan Police, NSW Police, Australian Federal Police), State Agencies (WorkCover NSW, NSW Fire Brigade) and various groups of legal professionals.
Richard’s research has informed changes in policy in various sectors of government, and is regularly asked to provide courts with expert evidence on issues related to memory and identification. Richard currently holds three Australian Research Council Linkage Grants. Since 2004 Richard has received more than $1.25 million in competitive research funding. In addition to his journal publications, Richard has published three psychology textbooks including a bestselling guide to statistics which is now in its fifth edition.