An Analysis Of Police Interview Discourse And Its Role(s .

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AN ANALYSIS OF POLICE INTERVIEW DISCOURSEAND ITS ROLE(S) IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESSKate Jessica Haworth,M.A., M.St., BarristerThesis submitted to the University of Nottinghamfor the degree of Doctor of PhilosophyJanuary 2009

AbstractThis study analyses the current role of police-suspect interview discourse in theEngland & Wales criminal justice system, with a focus on its use as evidence. A centralpremise is that the interview should be viewed not as an isolated and self-containeddiscursive event, but as one link in a chain of events which together constitute thecriminal justice process. It examines: (1) the format changes undergone by interviewdata after the interview has taken place, and (2) how the other links in the chain – bothbefore and after the interview – affect the interview-room interaction itself. It thusexamines the police interview as a multi-format, multi-purpose and multi-audiencemode of discourse.An interdisciplinary and multi-method discourse-analytic approach is taken, combiningelements of conversation analysis, pragmatics, sociolinguistics and critical discourseanalysis. Data from a new corpus of recent police-suspect interviews, collected for thisstudy, are used to illustrate previously unaddressed problems with the current process,mainly in the form of two detailed case studies. Additional data are taken from the caseof Dr. Harold Shipman. The analysis reveals several causes for concern, both in aspectsof the interaction in the interview room, and in the subsequent treatment of interviewmaterial as evidence, especially in the light of s.34 of the Criminal Justice and PublicOrder Act 1994. The implications of the findings for criminal justice are considered,along with some practical recommendations for improvements. Overall, this studydemonstrates the need for increased awareness within the criminal justice system of themany linguistic factors affecting interview evidence.2

AcknowledgementsI would firstly like to thank all those police forces and personnel who kindly agreed toprovide data for this research project – it could, of course, not have happened withoutthem.I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Economic and Social Research Council(ESRC Award No. PTA-030-2004-00907).I would also like to thank the following for advice, encouragement, enlightenment andinspiration, and/or the provision of regular hot beverages:Svenja Adolphs, Ron Carter, Gillian Clark, Janet Cotterill, Malcolm Coulthard, IrinaDahlmann, Zoltan Dornyei, Diana Eades, Martin Findell, Tim Grant, Peter Gray, DanielGreenberg, Chris Haworth, Chris Heffer, Alison Johnson, Krzysztof Kredens, AdrianLeibert, Pat Powell, Frances Rock, Peter Stockwell, all the staff at the School of EnglishStudies, and above all Louise Mullany, for being a truly exceptional supervisor.Dedicated to the memory of my mum, Mary Haworth, who would have been veryproud.3

Table of ContentsKEY TO TRANSCRIPTION . 71.INTRODUCTION . . 8RESEARCH QUESTION . 9RATIONALE . 10OUTLINE OF THESIS . 12LITERATURE REVIEW . 132.1INTRODUCTION . 132.2SITUATING THE PRESENT STUDY . 132.2.1Language and Law: Forensic Linguistics. 132.2.2Institutional Discourse . contexts . 192.2.3Police Interviews . 202.3FURTHER CONCEPTS. 262.3.1Transcription . 262.3.2Trans-contextuality . 292.3.3Audience . 342.3.4Narrative . 383.METHODOLOGY . 423.1METHODOLOGICAL POSITION . 423.1.1Linguistics applied vs. applied linguistics . 423.1.2The position of the researcher . 443.1.3Legal aspects of this study . 453.2MULTI-METHOD DISCOURSE ANALYSIS . 463.3THE DATA . 533.3.1Data access . 533.3.2Responses . 563.3.3Data selection . 593.4CONSIDERATION OF FORMAT . 614.THE POLICE INTERVIEW CONTEXT. 644.1INTRODUCTION . 644.2LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK . 644.2.1Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) . 654. developments . 70Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994, s.34 . 71The Caution . 744.3THE INTERVIEW CONTEXT . 744.3.1Pre-interview Procedure . 754.3.2In the Interview Room . 794. . 80The Legal Representative. 81Practicalities . 82Concluding the interview process. 84INTERVIEWS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS . 85THE COURT CONTEXT: SOME LEGAL PRINCIPLES . 92FORMAT OF INTERVIEW DATA . 965. . 96AUDIBILITY . 99TRANSCRIPTION: SPOKEN – WRITTEN . 101EDITING: THE RECORD OF TAPED INTERVIEW (ROTI). 106PRESENTATION TO THE COURT: WRITTEN – SPOKEN . 106FROM INTERVIEW ROOM TO COURTROOM . 1094

5.76.CONCLUSION . 112ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE CASE STUDIES . 1136.1INTRODUCTION . 1136.2AUDIENCE . 1136.2.1Theoretical background . „Audience design‟ . 115Broadcast interviews . 121Preliminary data analysis . 124Interviewers . 125Interviewees . 132Interviewer-interviewee (mis)communication . 138Summary . 1406.2.3Prosecution v Defence . 1426.3NARRATIVE . 1436.4STRUCTURE OF THE ANALYSIS . 1487.CASE STUDY 1: ASSAULT AND RESISTING ARREST . 1517.17.2BACKGROUND TO THE INTERVIEW . 151LEGAL FRAMEWORK . 1527. arrest . 158Self-defence . 1597.3ANALYSIS . 1617.3.1Audience orientation. 1617.3.2Offence construction . 1667.3.3Identity construction . 1787.3.4Story co-construction . 1927.4DISCUSSION . 2138.CASE STUDY 2: RAPE . 2148.1BACKGROUND TO THE INTERVIEW . 2148.2LEGAL FRAMEWORK . 2148.3ANALYSIS . 2188.3.1Audience orientation. 2198.3.2Offence construction . 2218.3.3Identity construction . 2318. of the Complainant‟s identity . 232Construction of the interviewee‟s identity. 248Story co-construction . 251The interviewee‟s story: the row. 2608.3.5The shift. 2668.4DISCUSSION . 2879.DISCUSSION . 2909.1INTRODUCTION . 2909.2DISCUSSION OF CASE STUDIES . 2909.2.1Interviewees. 2919.2.2Interviewers . 3019.2.3Interviews in the judicial process . Influence of prior stages . 305Influence of subsequent stages. 307Consequences for criminal justice. 312s.34 CJPOA 1994 . 314Role of police interviewer . 316Legal representatives . 319Summary . 3219.3FORM AND FUNCTION . 3229.4PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS . 3249.4.1Format . 3249.4.2Function . 3309. . 331Defence . 3335

9.4.310.Conclusion . 337EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION . 33910.1 OVERVIEW . 33910.2 STRENGTHS . 33910.2.1Methodology . 33910.2.2Interdisciplinarity . 34210.2.3Data access . 34310.3 WEAKNESSES . 34410.3.1Breadth of data analysed . 34410.3.2Interviewer training as a factor. 34510.4 CONCLUSION . 347REFERENCES. 348[APPENDIX A: FULL TRANSCRIPTS FOR CASE STUDIES ON CD]APPENDIX B: CHAPTER 8 DATA EXTRACTS . 3636

Key to transcriptionIR police interviewerIE intervieweeSOL solicitor(.)small pause(-)longer pause (number of dashes indicates relative length).hhaudible speaker in-breath (number of ‗h‘s indicates relative length)hhhaudible out-breath (as above).stopping fall in tone,‗continuing‘ intonation?rising/questioning inflection!animated/emphatic toneunder speaker emphasis―‖reading/quoting tone[][]overlapping talk latching (i.e. no gap at all between utterances, but not overlapping)-sharp cut-off of prior word/sound(guess) unclear fragment – best guess(?)unintelligible fragment{}non-verbal feature faster pace7

1. Introduction1.1 IntroductionThis study will analyse the discourse of police-suspect interviews conducted within thejurisdictional system of England and Wales (E&W). A central premise is that theinterview should be seen not as an isolated and self-contained discursive event, but asone part of a much wider process. A significant aspect of this study is therefore toconsider its role as a link in a chain of events which together constitute the criminaljustice process. It will examine the physical course of the interview data after theinterview has taken place, and also how the other links in the chain – both before andafter the interview – affect the interview-room interaction itself. This study will thusexamine the police interview as a multi-purpose, multi-audience and multi-format modeof discourse.To elaborate, the interview is conducted as part of the initial information-gatheringphase of a criminal case. The resulting data then become criminal evidence. As theysubsequently pass through the criminal justice system, interview data are transformedinto different formats and have several different functions for a variety of users, fromthe investigating police officers, to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), to thelawyers, judge and jury (or magistrates) of the courtroom. Interview data are thus ofcentral importance to the judicial process, yet the effect on the data of these differentaudiences, the variety of purposes and the different formats has not yet been considered.There are in fact some real causes for concern, both in aspects of the interaction in theinterview room, and in the subsequent treatment of interview material. I will argue thatit is (unintentionally) distorted and misinterpreted as it passes through the criminal8

justice process, due to a lack of understanding of basic linguistic principles governingthe production of spoken discourse, differences between spoken and written language,and the effect of context and audience on interaction.In stark contrast to the strict principles of preservation applied to physical evidence, thisstudy will show that interview data go through significant alteration and―contamination‖ along the route from interview room to courtroom. Further, analysis ofinterview discourse reveals ―contamination‖ in the other direction: the existence of thefuture audiences and purposes affects the interaction in the interview room itself,adding a further level of unacknowledged influence over the evidence. It will be shownthat there is a significant difference between interviewer and interviewee in theirorientation to these future audiences and purposes, causing miscommunication in theinterview room and leading to potentially serious consequences for the interviewee.Data from a new corpus of recent police interviews, collected for this study, will beused to illustrate these previously unaddressed problems with the current process,mainly in the form of two detailed case studies. The implications of the findings for thecriminal justice system will also be considered. Overall it is hoped that this study willdemonstrate the many ways in which linguistics can inform, and hence improve, thejudicial process with regard to the use of police interviews.1.2 Research questionThe overall broad research question to be addressed is:to assess the current role of police interview discourse in the E&W criminal justiceprocess, with a focus on its use as evidence.9

Within that broad remit, the following questions will be considered:To what extent, and in what manner, is the discourse addressed to the futureaudiences and their purposes, as opposed to those actually present in the interviewroom?What tensions are created by the institutional need to fulfil these several differentgoals at once?What are the differences between interviewer and interviewee in this respect, andhow does this affect the dynamic of the discourse between them?To what extent are the original data transformed or distorted through the changes inits format?What are the evidential consequences of those changes?What are the tensions between the role of the interview as a means of evidencegathering, and its role as a piece of evidence in itself?1.3 RationaleThe original impetus for the project comes directly from practical experience of the useof interviews in the criminal justice process. The researcher previously practised as acriminal barrister, and was therefore a regular end-user of police interview evidence.Even a (then) limited knowledge of linguistic principles was sufficient to triggerconcerns about the appropriacy of some aspects of this use, particularly in terms of itspresentation to the court as evidence against the interviewee. Given the stakes involved,a full-length study applying the analytical insights of linguistics to this most sociallysignificant form of discourse was felt not only to be justified, but also necessary.The inception of this study in a real-life professional context highlights the strongpractical focus which will inform the whole approach to be taken here. An overriding10

principle is that the findings should be of genuine use to the context which is beingstudied. Yet it must be emphasised that it is above all a linguistic study of a legalcontext, and not the other way round. Indeed alongside the practical focus, it is clearthat police interview discourse is of substantial interest from a purely academiclinguistic perspective. Institutional interviews have long been recognised as importantsites of social interaction, and few have such significant consequences as the context tobe studied here. Indeed a police interview may well constitute one of the mostimportant conversations of an interviewee‘s life. This therefore represents a particularlyfascinating and important area of linguistic study. Yet the police interview context hasproved extremely inaccessible to linguistic researchers, especially in the UK. This studytherefore represents a vital contribution to a very under-researched area.The selection of the jurisdiction of E&W perhaps needs further explanation. Firstly, it isone consistent area of legal jurisdiction, and hence all interviews conducted within it aregoverned by the same laws and procedures. (Scotland and, to a lesser extent, NorthernIreland have different legal systems.) Given the practical focus of this study, and thefundamental importance of the legal context, this consistency is particularly important.Further, it is the jurisdiction in which the researcher is legally qualified, and hence ofwhich I have practical knowledge and experience. Thus although many of the findingswill be of wider relevance and application, this geographical and jurisdictionallimitation of the scope of the study should be noted at the outset.Finally, it is worth noting that this study is situated in the relatively new but growingfield of forensic linguistics, which, in its broader definition, covers all aspects of theinterface between language and the law. Considering that the legal process is basedalmost entirely on words, from the wording of the statutes that govern the everyday11

behaviour of a society to the conviction of defendants based purely on what is said in acourtroom, the scope for linguistic research in this area is vast. But in fact relativelylittle such research has been undertaken to date. This study will contribute to thegrowing body of work being conducted in this field, and will hopefully helpdemonstrate that legal settings provide extremely interesting material for linguisticanalysis, as well as illustrating the useful contribution linguistics can make to law inreturn.1.4 Outline of thesisChapter 2 contains an overview of the relevant literature, and will situate this study inits research context. The following chapter (Ch.3) outlines the methodological approachtaken, including the process of data collection, which is of particular interest here giventhe nature of the data involved. Chapter 4 will provide the legal and social context ofthe police interview, in order to situate and explicate the current interview process. Thefollowing chapter (Ch. 5) will consider the format of interview data, and, by tracing thepassage of the data through the judicial process, will also provide a practicaldemonstration of the process set out in Chapter 4. Chapter 6 will set out the analyticalapproach to be taken in the case studies, which are contained in the following twochapters (7&8). These various elements and their relevance to the role of interviews inthe judicial process will be brought together and discussed in Chapter 9. This willdemonstrate that all these aspects are interlinked and in combination have potentiallyserious consequences for the current use of interviews as evidence. Finally, the study asa whole will be evaluated in Chapter 10.12

2. Literature Review2.1 IntroductionThis chapter will review the relevant literature in the key areas relating to this study. Itwill begin by situating the study within its research context, beginning with generaldefining categories before moving to the specific police interview context. The secondpart will review the literature on particular concepts utilised in this study but whichgenerally have no history of application to the England and Wales (E&W) policeinterview context.2.2 Situating the present study2.2.1Language and Law: Forensic LinguisticsThe present study is most readily categorised as belonging to the field of ForensicLinguistics (FL). This is a relatively new field, which is currently still growing andestablishing its position. From early beginnings as a diverse handful of researchers invarious countries being asked to provide linguistic expertise in individual cases, it hasgrown into a recognised field of applied linguistics with its own journal (TheInternational Journal of Speech, Language and the Law), international conferences,association (International Association of Forensic Linguists, or IAFL) and severaltextbooks (e.g. Gibbons 2003, Olsson 2004, Coulthard & Johnson 2007). It has twodefinitions: the narrow definition refers to the provision of expert linguistic evidence inlegal contexts, while the wider definition encompasses any research involving languageand the law. This study is therefore an example of the wider definition. FL does notembody any one methodological approach; indeed it includes researchers with a widevariety of academic backgrounds from psychology to phonology (although it must beacknowledged that lawyers are currently under-represented). Its scope is therefore13

broad. This is especially true given the overwh

AN ANALYSIS OF POLICE INTERVIEW DISCOURSE AND ITS ROLE(S) IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS Kate Jessica Haworth, M.A., M.St., Barrister Thesis submitted to the University of Nottingham

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