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By Wes Ward, Charles Sturt University   Thursday 8 June 2017

A book co-edited and part-written by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) legal expert has addressed the complex challenges faced by courts in Western democracies trying terrorism cases.

Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty, a leading researcher with the CSU School of Psychology, said, “Terrorism has become an everyday reality in most contemporary societies. Bombs explode in popular venues, public buildings turn into fortresses and laws are tightened that threaten fundamental rights.”

The Sydney-based academic believes that democratic practices such as the right to trial by jury are challenged in these cases by ethical, social and technological barriers.

In the book titled Juries, Science and Popular Culture in the Age of Terror: The Case of the Sydney Bomber, a research team has addressed this question using two live simulated trials attended by juries comprised of eligible Australian citizens.

The results showed that verdicts in the simulated trials were influenced by the jurors’ fear of terrorism, the so-called CSI Effect, and other individual biases.

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