CG04, College Building, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT
In the courtroom, the likelihood of conviction should rest solely on a jury’s consideration of the facts of the case. However, past research has found that jurors are often influenced by extra-legal factors such as characteristics associated with the victim, witness, or defendant.
Also, since rape trials involving strangers are relatively rare, public knowledge of these cases is shaped largely by media portrayals of a small number of cases, often marked by lengthy, challenging, and sensational trials. This may result in misconceptions about stranger rape that jurors bring to the courtroom.
Currently, there is very little research regarding stranger rape against either adults or children and the features of this particular type of rape that may influence jury verdicts.
In this seminar, Samantha will discuss the findings of two studies, conducted with colleagues from Middlesex University and the London Metropolitan Police Service, that explore the factors that predict juries’ decisions to convict or acquit in stranger rape cases. For both studies, data (spanning a 15-year period) was extracted from a sexual offence database maintained by the London Metropolitan Police Service.
In Study 1, the team analysed 394 stranger cases involving adult female victims and in Study 2, they examined 70 stranger cases involving child victims. In both studies, analysis revealed that jury verdicts were predicted predominantly by certain offence-related factors.
Samantha will discuss the implications of the findings of these studies for both prosecution case building and courtroom policy.