The believability of hearsay testimony in a child sexual assault trial

Jonathan M. Golding, Rebecca Polley Sanehez, A. Sego

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments investigated how mock jurors react to hearsay testimony in a case involving child sexual assault. Participants read a fictional criminal trial summary involving the sexual assault of a 4-(Experiment 2 only), 6-, or 14-year-old female. The summaries were presented in one of four conditions: (a) child condition-the alleged victim testified; (b) hearsay condition-the alleged victim did not testify but an adult hearsay witness did testify; (c) multiple condition (Experiment 1 only)both the alleged victim and the adult hearsay witness testified; and (d) no-witness condition- neither the alleged victim nor the hearsay witness testified. The hearsay testimony was believed to a considerable degree, and this testimony led to an increase in the perceived guilt of the defendant. Moreover, these results were comparable to those of conditions in which the alleged victim testified. The results are discussed in terms of the psychosocial factors affecting the perception of hearsay testimony in a child sexual assault trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-325
Number of pages27
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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