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The fair trial of those accused of historic child sexual abuse

Karmark, Ingrid (2017) The fair trial of those accused of historic child sexual abuse. Master of Philosophy (MPhil) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:64373)

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Abstract

The question which this research addresses is whether recent developments in law and practice concerning the prosecution of those accused of historic child sexual abuse (HCSA) especially taking into account the heightened public concern with this issue, may operate to compromise the right of the defendant to a fair trial in such cases, particularly with regard to the procedural and evidential safeguards which support that right.

The study considers the available data and the extensive legal, historical and sociological literature concerning child sexual abuse, relevant international and municipal statute and case law and the case papers of some men convicted of historic child sexual abuse who maintain their innocence and volunteered their assistance to this study.

It concludes that heightened public concern about child abuse has played a significant role in developments of relevant law and practice which may at times give rise to significant miscarriages of justice; that a long period of delay before charges are brought presents significant evidential challenges to a fair trial; that police methods of 'dip sampling' and interviewing in the investigation of such cases may operate to compromise the reliability of the evidence obtained; that current restrictions on the questioning complainants about their past character and sexual history may hinder the proper testing of prosecution evidence; and that the current rules on the admissibility of evidence about the past character of the defendant may have an unfairly prejudicial effect. Suggestions are offered as to how the current law and practice might be improved to address some of these issues.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Philosophy (MPhil))
Thesis advisor: Uglow, Steve
Thesis advisor: Fitzpatrick, John
Uncontrolled keywords: historic child sexual abuse miscarriage of justice fair trial of the defendant moral panic police investigatory methods delayed prosecutions bad character evidence of the complainant bad character evidence of the defendant the European Convention on Human Rights Articles 3, 6 and 8
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2017 17:10 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:50 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/64373 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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