ARTICLE: GUILT AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT: THE USE OF LIES, FLIGHT AND OTHER 'GUILTY BEHAVIOUR' IN THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF CRIME Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1997 Melbourne University Law Review Association, Inc.
Melbourne University Law Review

ARTICLE: GUILT AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT: THE USE OF LIES, FLIGHT AND OTHER 'GUILTY BEHAVIOUR' IN THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF CRIME

1997

21 Melbourne U. L.R. 95

Author

ANDREW PALMER*

Excerpt

I INTRODUCTION

If asked to decide which of two people committed a crime, one of the first things we would want to know is how each of them had behaved after the crime was committed, how each had reacted to any suggestions that they may have been responsible for it, how each had responded to any questioning about their possible involvement. What makes this information seem relevant to our hypothetical inquiry is the widely-held belief that the guilty and the innocent behave differently. For this reason, police investigating a crime are likely to closely scrutinise the behaviour, reactions and emotional states of the possible suspects in order to form conclusions about the likelihood of each of them being guilty or innocent of the crime. But in the criminal trial, 'guilty behaviour' appears to play a much smaller role; indeed, apart from well-recognised examples of guilty behaviour such as lies, flight or silence in the face of accusations of guilt, the explicit admission of such evidence is either rare or unreported. Moreover, the inferential processes involved in the use of such evidence tend to be blurred by the fact that these recognised examples of guilty behaviour are generally discussed in the textbooks under headings such as 'Corroboration' or 'Implied Admissions' or 'Admissions by Conduct'. 1 Not only does this treatment direct attention towards technical issues which have little or no bearing on the probative value of the evidence or on the way in which it should be used, it ...
 
 
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