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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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Courting Violence: Offences Against the Person Cases in Court

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ISBN13: 9780199279357
ISBN: 0199279357
Published: March 2006
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £72.00



Despatched in 5 to 7 days.

Courting violence analyses how the courts handle cases of physical violence. It examines how lawyers and judges go about questioning defendants, witnesses and victims, how testimony and physical evidence is used, what victims, witnesses and defendants think of the trial process, and the views of lay and professional participants about violent offences. The book is based on original fieldwork at criminal trials and interviews with those involved.

It is known that courtroom language, and the handling of evidence, influences the outcome of cases, and that those unfamiliar with the courts may feel bewildered and intimidated by courtroom language and procedures. The book examines the workings of such processes in cases of physical violence, with careful attention to assumptions made by lawyers, judges and others as they relate to gender, social class, ethnicity, and people exhibiting patterns of behaviour, such as young men who drink heavily in groups.

Key findings examine lay participants' understanding of courtroom procedure and language, satisfaction with their ability to participate competently, and willingness to assist the courts again. The book profiles the frustrations caused by the restricted role granted lay participants in trials, and reports problems concerning the experience of minority ethnic groups. Other themes include resource problems; the potential to improve proceedings by technological means; the role of the police, expert witnesses and interpreters; and variations in approaches to the judicial role.

Understandings of violence are treated as contingent and legally-reified, and victimisation as a negotiated process. Using accessible and engaging data the book shows readers the contemporary practice of criminal trials in the crown courts, highlights some of the most contentious and sensitive problems in criminal justice, and suggests improvements. It functions both as an accessible overview of the work of the courts and an insight into how society deals with serious crime.

  • Contains original empirical research using fieldwork methods, and extracts from real trials
  • Offers insights into the victims', witnesses', and defendants' views of criminal trials
  • Identifies problems in the presentation of testimony and evidence, and how these can be addressed by technological and procedural changes
  • Examines how lawyers' tactics and rhetoric can substantively affect trial outcomes

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Subjects:
Criminal Law, Criminology
Contents:
1. Contexts of Violence
Court Professionals
2. Lay Participants and the Courts
Expectations and Pre-Trial Advice
Anxiety and Upset
3. Documenting Violence
Bail, Confessions, and Statements as Representations of Violence
Evidence
Alcohol and Drugs
Domestic Violence
4. The Language of Violence at Court
Accounts of Assault and Injury
Lawyers' Tactics
Lawyer and Judge Conferrals
Judges' Interventions
The Jury
5. The Lay Participant at Court
Problems in Understanding
Language Problems
Frustration and Resistance
6. Courting Violence
Stereotyping, Characterisation, and Multicultural Issues
Defining Law
Intimidation
Narrating Violence
Appendix A: Case Summaries
Appendix B: Legal Definitions of Violent Crimes
References
Index

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