Gisli Gudjonsson, King's College, London, UK
Theresa Joyce, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), UK
People with intellectual disabilities commonly come into contact with the criminal justice system as victims, witnesses or suspects. Their intellectual disabilities may make them disadvantaged in relation to all components of the criminal justice system, including police interviews, fitness to plead and stand trial, capacity to give evidence in court, and issues to do with criminal responsibility and sentencing. The focus in this paper is on police interviews and the capacity of adults with intellectual disabilities to give evidence in Court. Research into the types of vulnerability seen by people interviewed by police have focused on interviewees' understanding of the Oath and their legal rights, suggestibility, acquiescence, compliance and perceptions of the consequences of making self-incriminating admissions. The essential components of any interview and testifying in court require that the person can communicate effectively and give reliable answers and accounts of events. Research into police interviews has highlighted the importance of taking into account the interviewee's vulnerabilities and providing appropriate support, and suggests a more humane approach to interviews and when vulnerable people testify in Court.
Police interviews; Intellectual disabilities; Learning disability; Capacity; Vulnerabilities.
Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities
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