'And that’s why street-wise complainants now always give evidence behind screens, live’: exploring the intensive affects of the courtroom

Anna Carline, Clare Gunby, Jamie Murray

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Abstract

Special measures are routinely used in sexual violence cases, in many countries across the globe, to support the rape complainant through the criminal justice process and to achieve best evidence. Such provisions include the use of the police video-recorded interview as evidence-in-chief, the use of screens in the courtroom to shield the complainant from the defendant, and cross-examination by live TV link. Drawing upon semi-structured interviews with 39 barristers across England and Wales, this chapter explores practitioners’ perspectives on the use of these measures, and situates this analysis within a consideration of the ‘intensive affects’ of bodies in the space of the courtroom. More specifically, the chapter draws upon theories of affect and the intensive ontological register to make sense of barristers’ widely held and enduring belief that testimony that is delivered ‘remotely’ has significantly less impact upon a jury, and in turn renders a conviction less likely. The chapter argues that this perspective frequently influences the advice given to complainants, and that as a result, an appreciation of the role of bodies’ affects in the space of the courtroom may help further our understandings of, and responses to, the challenges of implementing provisions which aim to improve the criminal justice response to rape.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCourthouse Architecture, Design and Social Justice
EditorsK Duncanson, E Henderson
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter7
Number of pages22
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9780429059858
ISBN (Print)9780367181635, 9781032071039
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2021

Publication series

NameSpace, Materiality and the Normative

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