Refreshed Testimony: What is it and should we be doing it?

Francesca Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Cross-examination is thought by some to be the main safeguarding process in an adversarial trial but it is often used as an opportunity to discredit witnesses. For example, the use of complex language can confuse witnesses, particularly those who are young and vulnerable, exposing errors and inconsistencies in their statement that may not exist. To put individuals at ease before a court appearance the courts in England and Wales allow witnesses to review a copy of their original testimony. The idea is to refresh their memory before cross-examination. Whilst this option is available it is not always offered therefore, if ‘refreshing’ is beneficial to memory, some witnesses may be at a disadvantage in the courtroom. This presentation will discuss what it means to ‘refresh’ memory and will describe a study which aims to assess the effect of this process on the accuracy and consistency of a witness’ memory during cross-examination. Participants experienced a live event, and were interviewed following Achieving Best Evidence guidelines, and later cross-examined. Prior to cross-examination, half the participants were shown a video-recording of their original interview (refreshing condition) and half were shown an unrelated video (control condition). The results of this study will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2011
EventiIIRG 4th Annual Conference - Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 20113 Jun 2011


ConferenceiIIRG 4th Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • cross-examination
  • eyewitness
  • iIIRG 4th Annual Conference

    Francesca Ainsworth (Speaker)

    1 Jun 20113 Jun 2011

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


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