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Comprehending Canadian police cautions: are the rights to silence and legal counsel understandable?



Comprehending Canadian police cautions: are the rights to silence and legal counsel understandable?



Behavioral Sciences and the Law 28(3): 366-377



Comprehension of a Canadian police right to silence caution and a right to legal counsel caution was examined. Each caution was first presented verbally in its entirety, followed by its sentence-by-sentence presentation in written format. Participants (N = 56) were asked to indicate, after each presentation, their understanding of the caution. When delivered in verbal format, 4 and 7% of participants fully understood the right to silence and legal counsel cautions, respectively. However, 48 and 32% of participants fully understood the right to silence and legal counsel cautions, respectively, when delivered in written format. Comprehension of the cautions was not influenced by gender, experience with the caution, or whether the caution was interpreted by a police recruit or regular student. The implications of the results for statement admissibility and protection of suspects' rights are discussed.

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Accession: 052269464

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 19882632

DOI: 10.1002/bsl.898


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