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Train carriage

By Damien Schofield

A number of courtrooms around the world have seen the presentation of forensic evidence within reconstructed, interactive virtual environments. In many instances these can potentially help make the evidence is more relevant and easier to understand. However, this form of interactive simulation may create prejudice due to its ‘realistic’ appearance.  This chapter outlines how the simulation for the study presented in this book was created, using techniques used to provide maximum information with minimal emotional reactions.  For this study an interactive simulation of both prosecution and defence versions of the case were presented.

This chapter uses insights from a mock trial, ‘the Sydney Bomber Case’, that involved a fictional alleged terrorist incident in which a young white man was accused of placing a bomb on a train that exploded after he alighted, killing innocent commuters in the centre of Sydney.

The chapter examines:

  • The nature of visual evidence
  • How interactive virtual environments are used in courtrooms
  • Previous research into the use of interactive virtual environments in courtrooms
  • Issues about using interactive virtual evidence in the courtroom – viewpoints, correlating location, realism, media mode, resolution, accuracy, simulation and interaction
  • Advantages and disadvantages of interactive virtual evidence and video games technology in court.

The chapter is useful for::

  • Communications practitioners and creators of digital products used in courts
  • Students, teachers, researchers – in Law and Psychology
  • Forensic scientists and psychologists
  • Practitioners of law and criminal justice
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The book

This chapter is in the book Juries, Science and Popular Culture in the Age of Terror


Other related chapters

Other chapters that provide research insights arising from the ‘the Sydney Bomber Case’ are:

Chapter 4: Animating the Bomber: The Sydney Bomber Trial

Chapter 7: Displaying the Bomb on the Train: The Challenge of Preparing Visual Evidence

Chapter 8: Research Aims and Methods

Chapter 9: The Sydney Bomber Study: Introducing the Mock Jurors

Chapter 10: Images of Interactive Virtual Environments: Do They Affect Verdict?

Chapter 11: How Juries Talked About Visual Evidence

Chapter 12: CSI Effects on Jury Reasoning and Verdicts

Chapter 13: The Effect of Deliberation on Jury Verdicts

Chapter 14: Making Sense of The Evidence: Jury Deliberation and Common Sense