Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Criminology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Ken Dowler

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Fleming

Advisor Role

Second Reader

Third Advisor

Dr. Daniel Antonowicz

Advisor Role

Third Reader

Abstract

The phenomenon of wrongful convictions has begun to attract the attention of the public and scholars alike within the past few decades. However, despite this recent fixation the issue of wrongful convictions is not new, as research on the subject dates back to 1932 with the work of Edwin Borchard. Most of the research on the subject of wrongful convictions has focused largely on identifying the factors that contribute to these injustices. For the most part academics are in agreement when it comes to the causes of wrongful convictions, which include, eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, police & prosecutor misconduct, use of jailhouse informants, errors in forensic science and ineffective assistance of council (Grounds, 2005).

While misconduct resulting from investigative error has been cited as a cause of wrongful convictions, the research is predominately concerned with examining eyewitness misidentification, which has been cited as the leading cause of these errors (Gould & Leo, 2010). However, this study highlights the importance of studying the role of police and prosecutors in the establishment of a wrongful conviction. It is quite clear that police officers play a pivotal role within any investigation, as they are first to arrive at the scene, they are also responsible for the collection of evidence, interviewing all parties involved, identifying suspects, as well as possible motives. This research intends to examine the issue of police misconduct, through a socio-legal analysis of six Canadian public inquiries into wrongful convictions. Filling a void within wrongful conviction research through the examination of two neglected areas, police misconduct and the experiences of wrongfully convicted from a Canadian perspective.

Convocation Year

2016

Convocation Season

Fall