Expert witnesses or not, believe me a jury will normally make up its mind AS THE CHARGES ARE READ. Now I know that takes a lot of believing but it is true. Some of the reasons are these.

1) They think: well the police/CPS wouldn't bring it to court if 'they' didn't think the accused was guilty.

2) The police/CPS are much more experienced than we are.

3) The accused ran off after the event, which tends to indicate guilt.

4) The accused did nothing to render any assistance to the injured party.

5) The accused didn't inform the police that they had done damage to the guy on the deck or stay to justify why they acted as they did.

6) As No5, but didn't phone for an ambulance for the injured party.

7) We are told that all these so called indicators took place, but there is no proof of such things happening on the video evidence, or in witness statements or testimony.

8) The arresting officers had to establish the accused's identity and then find their place of abode, further indicating guilt.

9) In the face of all these questions raised the accused denied the charges.

10) The accused's 'body language' in the dock seems to be highly suspect.

Juries are not alone in the manner they form conclusions. Can you remember the last time you went for a job interview? Well the person interviewing you made up their mind about you within the first ten/fifteen seconds of you walking into the room. The rest of the interview (how ever long it took) was spent with the interviewer looking for reinforcement of their initial impression. It wasn't spent with them looking for reasons for them to change their minds.



No, I quite agree. However, if a person found themselves in the unfortunate position of supporting a self defense claim (which was true), then the information I provided is the best they can use to defend themselves. Nothing else would even have a chance of swaying a jury, as you have pointed out.

P.S. You make many assumptions about the situation which were not stated in the initial discussion. It may have been the person who pre-empted who called the police, for example. An ambulance may have been phoned for. Note that we are not obligated in any way by law to provide medical assistance for an assailant if they are injured by our actions in self defense. Expecting that is unreasonable when in a dangerous situation.

The police's policy regarding self defense, as I remember it (reported by the BBC a while ago) is called "bash and dash". If you stand around at the scene, you are not acting in self defense because self defense implies that you would remove yourself from a dangerous situation. Running away is in no way an implication of guilt, as long as you inform the police of the incident as soon as you are safe.

Body language is readily viewable on video. The "interview", for example, is a clearly visible activity.

Regarding the clues we give off instinctually, yes an aggressor can theoretically see that we are preparing a pre-emptive strike in many situations. This causes threat elevation and is a dangerous situation to be in indeed. The primary way to avoid this situation happening is to avoid striking pre-emptively until all other methods (in the pyramid) have been exhausted. This way we know that we have done everything in our means possible to avoid the conflict and now must consider defending ourselves physically so that we may gain a chance to escape and, possibly, survive the altercation. Note that in many cases, it has proven to be the case that even after using pre-emptive strikes, a person who is attacked can still end up dead. Hence, if things have fallen to this level, the application of reasonable force may be acceptable.

Edited by Leo_E_49 (01/16/07 09:14 PM)
Self Defense
(Website by Marc MacYoung, not me)