, the online journal produced by the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy, has just published an article entitled Tracking the faulty logic of sexual assault trials
"We’re mining Canadian court transcripts to better understand how interrogation strategies used in the courtroom have an impact on decision-making in Canadian courts. In sexual assault court cases there are usually two conflicting stories: she says 'rape,' he says 'sex.' Who is lying? The court must weigh the evidence and decide. But how do courts 'think'? (...)"
"We found repeated examples of three categories of illogical arguments used by defence lawyers in the cross-examinations of victim-witnesses. These arguments were largely accepted by the courts, were not objected to by Crowns and often appeared to be associated with an acquittal of the accused."
The four authors, Amanda Parriag, Edward Renner, Laura Park, and Wendy Hovdestad, had conducted a similar analysis of 105 sexual assault trials some 20 years ago and conclude that many of the same logical fallacies are being committed today.
Labels: courts, criminal law, evidence