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    Linkage Analysis as Evidence in Court: A Thematic Analysis of Mock Juror Deliberations

    Fawcett, H ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6063-4580 and Clark, K (2015) Linkage Analysis as Evidence in Court: A Thematic Analysis of Mock Juror Deliberations. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 12 (3). pp. 247-266. ISSN 1544-4759

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    Linkage analysis has, albeit occasionally, been presented in courts across the world as evidence that a series of offences possess behavioural similarities and distinctiveness from other offences, meaning they have probably been committed by the same individual. It is therefore imperative to ascertain how linkage analysis is regarded by juries within the context of deliberations. Three groups of participants (N = 22) eligible for jury duty in England and Wales viewed a simulated rape and murder trial derived from an actual South African case. Linkage analysis formed the sole evidence against the defendant in the two later offences, although DNA matches and eyewitness identifications of the defendant were present in the two earlier offences. Participant deliberations were recorded and subjected to thematic analysis. Five themes were discovered: behavioural consistencies and inconsistencies, physical versus case linkage evidence, barriers to admissibility, potential uses of linkage analysis, and dependence of lay knowledge. Jurors' over-reliance on erroneous lay knowledge contributed to their conclusion that linkage analysis is, at present, unrepresentative evidence that cannot independently indicate a defendant's culpability. However, participants believed that linkage analysis could be a useful tool within investigations and, with further research evidence, in court in England and Wales. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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