Jurors and the difference between right and wrong

Friday 11 September 2009 at 6:49 am | In News | Post Comment
12 angry men
12 angry men

The legal standard for dishonesty found in R v Ghosh is whether a defendant’s actions were honest according to the standards of reasonable and honest people, but research has shown that this test may create inconsistency.

Online research of more than 15,000 volunteers by Emily Finch and Stefan Fafinski, of Brunel University suggests that no such universal standard for honesty exists.

The study found that women are more likely than men to see actions as dishonest, but men are more likely to convict. For example, 92 per cent of women thought that it was dishonest to make an insurance claim for pre-existing damage to a car, compared with 85 per cent of men. Only 47 per cent of women, however, would be prepared to convict somebody of fraud on this basis, compared with 55 per cent of men.

Older people are more likely to take a tougher line and people are less likely to consider an action dishonest if they have done it themselves.

Respondents were asked about insurance fraud, student plagiarism or theft from an employer. Even in apparently cut-and-dried cases, more than 3 per cent felt that it was not dishonest to take a DVD from a shop without paying for it.

Further researcher will take place in a mock courtroom to see if the presence of a judge and barristers and peer pressure in the jury room influence decisions.

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