The Language of Forensic Experts: A Commentary on the Sally Clark Case ]1999-2002

Huda M. A. Benyounis

Abstract



According to the judge, jury and the public in the UK, Sally
Clark murdered her two sons. The prosecution forensic expert had
submitted his evidence using complex medical and scientific language
that misled the jury. The defence expert failed to challenge
him. A few years later, Mrs. Clark was proven innocent, as there was
undisclosed evidence and the language of the prosecution forensic
expert misled the jury. This paper raises some issues according to
the Sally Clark case. It includes some discussions about the expert’s
role in the adversarial system and also compares it with the inquisitorial
system. It is an approach towards understanding whether the
expert should stand in the witness box or not. This paper answers
whether the decision in the Sally Clark would have taken a different
direction, if it was dealt under the inquisitorial justice system
or other experts’ systems. Although this case has helped to re-open
many other cases, it has not encouraged the English criminal justice
system to make any changes with the expert system (especially in
complex forensic cases). It also affected experts who now think that
testifying in court is a risk. This paper presents a new approach that,
if considered, can protect the justice system from any miscarriages,
the experts themselves from being blamed and the public who look
at both as killers.


Keywords


Forensic Science, Forensic Evidence, Sally Clark, Criminal Justice, Experts, Language.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26735/16586794.2019.017

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