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Investigative Interviewing of Suspects in Australia (From International Developments in Investigative Interviewing, P 3-23, 2009, Tom Williamson, Becky Milne, and Stephen P. Savage, eds. - See NCJ-228326)

NCJ Number
Stephen Moston
Date Published
21 pages
This chapter focuses on what research has found about the features of the investigative interviewing of suspects in criminal investigations in Australia.
The Electronic Recording of Interviews with Suspected Persons (ERISP) was first introduced in New South Wales in 1991, although it was not until 1995 that the law of evidence was changed to make electronic recording of interviews a prerequisite for the admissibility of confessional evidence, but only in serious cases. The reason for the widespread adoption of video recording of police investigative interviews of suspects was apparently to address accusations of "verballing," which involves police fabrication of confessions or other damaging statements by suspects. A study by Australia's Criminal Justice Commission in 2000 found that approximately 33 percent of questioning by police in the field was audio-recorded, with another 2 percent being video-recorded. Australian courts will often grant police officers considerable leeway in reporting on interviews conducted away from formal ERISP facilities or any other type of recording equipment. The actual impact of ERISP requirements on observable police behaviors in suspect interviews is unknown, since there are no pre-ERISP data that would allow comparisons. Suspects have a right to level advice while being questioned, but no legal aid or duty solicitor schemes are provided. One study (Dixon and Travis, 2004) reports that it is more common to find support persons other than lawyers present during suspect questioning. Despite statutory and common law entitlement to a suspect's right to silence in Australia, an audit by the Crime and Misconduct Commission in 2004 found that approximately 12 percent of suspects had not been informed on tape of their right to silence and the fact that anything they said could be used in evidence. 43 references