Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Not Guilty as Charged; False Confessions Second Most Frequent Cause of Wrongful Conviction in Our Courts

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Not Guilty as Charged; False Confessions Second Most Frequent Cause of Wrongful Conviction in Our Courts

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

A MORE formal and structured police interview process may have saved Sunshine Coast man Graham Stafford from 15 years in jail for a crime he did not commit.

Professor Paul Wilson, a leading psychologist, said the conclusion police had reached that Stafford lied when interviewed about the death of 13-year-old Leanne Holland at Ipswich was a consequence of the way he had been questioned.

He said interviews of suspects had to be more formal and police needed to be made aware of the range of motivations that may drive a particular response.

Prof Wilson will tell the national conference of the Australian Psychological Society College of Forensic Psychologists in Noosa today that he estimates there are 8500 wrongful convictions being recorded in Australian courts annually.

The reasons for that range from accused being unable to afford legal representation, the caseload of duty solicitors and accused being convinced to plea bargain for lower sentences. …

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