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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Expert Evidence and the Unreliability of Admissions during Police Interviews

It has been recognised for over a decade that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), if not identified, can result in miscarriages of justice by reason of profoundly reducing the culpability, and on occasion even the responsibility, of criminal offenders. The potential for such disorders to result in the unreliability of admissions and confessions to police (which may be vital pieces of evidence against accused persons) had also been recognised in principle. However, the decision of the Privy Council in Pora v The Queen [2015] UKPC 9 provides an authoritative legal precedent for recognition of the fact that questioning by police has the potential to yield unreliable and confabulated confessions from persons with FASDs. 

Author: Freckelton, I.

Journal: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (Volume 23, Issue 2)

Date: February 2016

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