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Posted on April 12th, 2014, by

The influence of recording interrogations on the behavior and responses of witnesses

Today, the problem of the effective interrogation is extremely important in the contemporary criminal justice system because the interrogation process depends on the accuracy of information collected from witnesses. The use of technological tools to record interrogations can help to improve the quality of interrogations since recording allows enhancing the responsibility of witnesses and prevents the violation of human rights of witnesses. On the other hand, the use of technical means to record interrogations may have a significant impact on witnesses because they affect the perception of legal effects of responses of witnesses during the interrogation. Hence, witnesses may become more responsible and truthful in the course of interrogations. Therefore, video- and audio-recording of interrogations of witnesses can enhance the truthfulness of witnesses and encourage them to provide accurate and true responses as recording increases their responsibility in face of law and their consciousness.

Literature Review

Today, the problem of the effective interrogation is very significant for the effectiveness of the interrogation process. In this regard, many specialists (Barak, 2008) point out that one of the main issue that arouse in the past was the lack of control over the interrogation process that often led to the misuse of power by interrogators as well as deception from the part of witnesses because neither witnesses nor interrogators had the evidence of the interrogation but the print or written records. In such a situation, the introduction of audio- and video-recording has had a considerable impact on the interrogation process (Adler, Mueller, and Laufer, 2008). The main purpose of the introduction of video- and audio-recording was the minimization of the risk of misuse of power by interrogators and the maximization of accuracy of interrogation records. Audio- and video-recording provided interrogators with an opportunity to record the interrogation accurately and, if necessary, records could be played over and over again (Adler, Mueller, and Laufer, 2008). In such a situation, witnesses could not pretend that their responses were mis-recorded in the course of interrogation. At the same time, witnesses received the higher protection from the violation of their rights since all the interrogation would be recorded and, in case of legal disputes over the interrogation, the interrogation could be played to check whether any rights of the witness had been violated.

On the other hand, some specialists (Braithwaite, 1995) point out that the introduction of video- and audio-records of interrogations can have a psychological impact on witnesses. Their awareness and responsibility may arise in the course of the interrogation, if the interrogation is recorded (Barak, 2008). At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that witnesses are legally liable for misinforming interrogators in the course of interrogation and provision of erroneous information, if witnesses do it on purpose. In such a way, specialists (Barak, 2008) point out that witnesses naturally grew more aware and responsible, while giving their responses during interrogations, because they understood their legal liability and the fact that their responses were recorded and could be used against them, if they lie on purpose.

Researchers studying the impact of video- and audio-recording on witnesses (Adler, Mueller and Laufer, 2008; Braithwaite, 1995) used statistical methods of analysis mainly. Some researchers (Barak, 2008) used experiments in their studies of the impact of recording on witnesses.

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