Awareness and comprehension of the right to silence in Queensland, Australia

Kidd, Garry, and Sullivan, Kim (2014) Awareness and comprehension of the right to silence in Queensland, Australia. Journal of Tropical Psychology, 4. pp. 1-8.

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Awareness and comprehension of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) caution was investigated in a group (N = 140) of university students in Far North Queensland, Australia. Awareness was measured before participants were shown and read aloud the QPS caution; comprehension was then assessed. Finally, participants completed the Australian Legal Awareness Questionnaire (ALAQ) to ascertain their knowledge and awareness of legal matters more generally. The results show that participants were generally unaware of their legal rights and had difficulty comprehending the right to silence caution. Moreover, there was no clear relationship between participants’ awareness and comprehension of the QPS caution and their results on the ALAQ. Overall, the study demonstrates that while many of the studied participants reported understanding the QPS caution, the reality is that most did not. This is a concerning outcome considering that the police caution is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system in Queensland and in many other jurisdictions. Moreover, it is disturbing that people already marginalised by virtue of lower education and literacy levels (many Indigenous Australians residing in Far North Queensland, for example) are further seriously disadvantaged by failing to comprehend the police caution.

Item ID: 33980
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1838-9902
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2014 05:12
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170104 Forensic Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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