The Jeremy Kyle show and American TV crime shows have blurred in many people’s minds the distinction in this country between criminal justice and entertainment. In our traditionally conservative country the courts do not recognise these polygraph tests. They have no evidential value. The courts consider it to be of gimmick value.
Do the courts recognise Lie Detector Tests as Evidence?
The courts may not recognise the value of lie detector tests, but it would seem the police do, particularly when dealing with sex offenders in the community.
The media have reported this week that some police forces are using polygraph tests when determining the level of risk posed by sex offenders. To put this in context these tests do not determine guilt or innocence, but simply assist the police in determining what level of monitoring sex offenders should be made subject to.
For instance an application to discharge a Sexual Offences Prevention Order or be removed from the Register is a matter for a Judge or the Chief Constable to determine. Are the restrictions on liberty that such an order imposes necessary to manage the risk of that particular offender. The courts will listen to the views of the police offender manger which now possibly will include the results of a polygraph test.
Are Lie Detector Tests accurate?
This is a difficult area to assess. Studies in America seem to suggest the accuracy rate for lie detectors is somewhere between 65 – 90 per cent. Not enough to pass the criminal standard of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ but sufficient to relax or restrict the liberty of a convicted sex offender in the community?
Should Lie Detector Tests be used for Sex Offenders?
Is this percentage much different from an experienced Public Protection Officer assessing the same individual. Probably not. Does Artificial Intelligence replace years of experience and instinct?
In these days of stretched police resources it is a useful tool for the police to have at their disposal and perhaps should be used to confirm a conclusion an Offender Manager has arrived at. This is a classic example of not allowing the tail to wag the dog.
Have you been asked to take a Lie Detector Test?
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Article written by Max Saffman. If you wish to discuss any aspect of notification requirements on the Sex Offenders Register or a Sexual Offences Prevention Order please contact specialist solicitor Max Saffman on 0161 8341515 or email him here.