Inderscience Publishers

Neuroscientific evidence: a criminal justice dream, or an adversarial nightmare?

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This exploratory paper seeks to examine the use of neuroscientific evidence in the criminal trial process. Such evidence is not currently employed in the pre–trial or trial stages in England and Wales. However, the first use of polygraph lie detectors during the pre–charge process has recently been trailed by Hertfordshire Police. More advanced techniques such as the BEOS test and the use of fMRI scans have been used in international courtrooms, notably in the USA and India. This paper highlights some of the potential conflict with the ECHR, should England and Wales follows suit. Finally, the use of the techniques in a civil setting and the ramifications for the jury trial are also discussed.

Keywords: neuroscientific evidence, criminal procedures, functional MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, European Convention on Human Rights, ECtHR, brain electrical oscillations signature, BEOS, lie detectors, bias, polygraphs, neuroscience, jury trials

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