Zombie forensics: the use of the polygraph and the integrity of the criminal justice system in England and Wales

Kotsoglou, Kyriakos (2021) Zombie forensics: the use of the polygraph and the integrity of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. The International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 25 (1). pp. 16-35. ISSN 1365-7127

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The criminal justice system of England and Wales increasingly deploys the polygraph to extract information from released offenders. Although there is little judicial authority regarding the admissibility of polygraph evidence, we should not misinterpret silence as legal uncertainty. The paper will, first, show that the central claim for the understanding of the polygraph—i.e. the presupposition that the polygraph indicates deception—is inextricably linked to an obsolete paradigm in psychology (Introspection). Secondly, I will turn to first principles in the law of evidence, especially the general ban on opinion evidence and the requirement for scientific validity. The requirement that expert evidence has a sufficiently reliable scientific basis explains why polygraph evidence cannot be adduced at the criminal process. Thirdly, I will draw attention to the use of polygraph tests in the context of probation, pursuant to the Offender Management Act 2007. With the use of the polygraph, the criminal justice system does not only infringe the released offender’s human rights, but also fails to protect the public. The combination of inadmissibility of the polygraph in the criminal process and its use from probation services creates thus a major contradiction which is detrimental to the integrity of the legal order.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: I have benefitted greatly from the constructive criticism of Marion Oswald, Tony Ward, Alex Biedermann and Paul Roberts. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Uncontrolled Keywords: arbitrariness, integrity, law of evidence, opinion rule, polygraph, probation, zombie forensics
Subjects: M200 Law by Topic
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2020 13:03
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 10:18
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/44960

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