Silence, Joint Enterprise and the Legal Trap

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Published: 2nd September 2021

Professor Felicity Gerry QC will be joined by Dr Susie Hulley and Dr Tara Young in this expert webinar highlighting the role of the law, and its agents, in generating silence among young suspects.

Drawing on a study by Dr Hulley and Dr young, of serious multi-handed violence and ‘joint enterprise’ as a legal response, this webinar highlights the role of the law, and its agents, in generating silence among young suspects. These Young people face a precarious trap, as their silence is interpreted as guilt by the police, propelling them towards charge.

Their study concludes that to avoid over-charging and to encourage Young people with knowledge of serious violence to talk, structural change is needed. The system must reverse the legal rules regarding silence and reform the law on secondary liability to reduce the legal risks of talking.

Felicity Gerry QC is well known as defending a range of ‘joint enterprise’ cases, most recently in murder in 3 criminal trials involving young accused people aged 18, 13 and 17 in one of which a ‘no comment’ interview was excluded and another is on appeal on the issue of extensions of liability through adverse inferences.

Dr Susie Hulley is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge and is on the Advisory Board for the Prison Reform Trust’s Building Futures Programme. She has worked on a range of research studies including a study of the experiences of prisoners serving very long sentences from a young age.

Dr Tara Young is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at Kent University. The central focus of her research is on marginalised young people as perpetrators and victims of anti-social behaviour and violent crime.

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This event has now finished, if you’d like, you can view the recording of it here.