Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Lavoie

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisor


Jurors rely on eyewitness testimony in deciding a defendant’s guilt or innocence. Archival analyses of hundreds of post-conviction DNA exonerations have identified eyewitness misidentification as the highest individual factor contributing to wrongful convictions (Innocence Project, 2014). Internationally, criminal justice systems have employed procedural safeguards (PSs) to educate juries on factors affecting eyewitness identification accuracy. Two such safeguards include the introduction of eyewitness expert testimony during trial proceedings and the reading of cautionary instructions by a presiding judge. In an independent factorial design, this research sought to examine the effects of a model judicial caution drafted by the Ontario Judicial Council (2012) and eyewitness expert testimony on jurors. Viewing court transcripts surrounding a fictional robbery case, jurors were presented with independently varied evidence of eyewitness testimony (low confidence vs. high confidence) and photoarray lineups (no lineup vs. unbiased lineup vs. biased lineup). Numerous juror perceptions were measured, including verdicts, eyewitness credibility, defence case strength, and understanding of the trial. Results indicated that jurors were not unduly influenced by eyewitness confidence or expert testimony. Jurors were more likely to convict the defendant when the eyewitness made an identification from an unbiased lineup compared to a biased lineup. While jurors were able to detect foil bias, evidence of juror confusion was found with respect to lineup fairness ratings from jurors exposed to the judicial caution. Results are summarized and discussed in view of current Canadian trial proceedings.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season