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The Adversarial Process and the Vulnerable Witness$
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Louise Ellison

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299097

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299097.001.0001

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Cross-examination and the Vulnerable Witness

Cross-examination and the Vulnerable Witness

(p.87) V Cross-examination and the Vulnerable Witness
The Adversarial Process and the Vulnerable Witness

Louise Ellison

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses in Great Britain. Cross-examination is lauded within the common law tradition as the definitive forensic device for exposing testimonial infirmity. However, victomological study of trial proceedings has revealed the extent to which cross-examination is used as a tool to humiliate, intimidate, and confuse opposing witnesses. In addition, cross-examination is littered with linguistic devices and interrogative techniques that disadvantage those with language capacity limited by immaturity or disability.

Keywords:   cross-examination, vulnerable witness, Great Britain, testimonial infirmity, trial proceedings, linguistic devices, interrogative techniques

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