Deliberately false forensic expert testimony. Part 1: an introduction

Keywords: forensic psychiatric evaluation, forensic expert responsibility, deliberately false testimony

Abstract

Background. The problem of deliberately false forensic expert testimony is one of unresolved issues in today’s Ukrainian forensic psychiatric practice.

Objective – to analyze organizational and legal aspects of forensic expert’s responsibility for the deliberately false expert testimony. The main emphasis is given to the question: by whom and in which way the expert witness should be warned against deliberately false testimony.

Materials and methods. An analysis of scientific publications and legislative acts on the problem of deliberately false forensic expert testimony was performed.

Results. The full-fledged procedure of warning a forensic expert against the deliberately false testimony is regarded as strong and valuable educative and preventive measure. Nevertheless, the principal application of that procedure is to be a core element which provides a criminal responsibility in case if the false testimony is committed. The above mentioned warning should be given to forensic expert by appropriate authority (a court; an investigating judge; a prosecuting attorney or an investing officer). This procedure should be personified and applied directly in each and any case of forensic expert evaluation.

At the same time existing Ukrainian legislation and current practice show systematic breaches of the above mentioned procedure. First, the warning of an expert is delegated to the management of the forensic expert institutions (which, in practice, means that the experts are “self-warned”). Second, there is a regulation presuming a one-time expert’s written receipt with notification of potential criminal responsibility, added to expert’s personal records. Third, the text of the warning is included in official blank form of the forensic psychiatric expert opinion (which has serious mistakes, distorting the formulation of the appropriate Criminal Code article).

Conclusions. If the procedure of warning a forensic expert against the deliberately false testimony is executed in undue way, this may result in devaluation of its moral component, and may become a barrier to effective suing of an expert if the deliberately false testimony would occur.

References

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Published
2019-06-19
How to Cite
Pervomayskiy, V. B., & Kanishchev, A. V. (2019). Deliberately false forensic expert testimony. Part 1: an introduction. Archives of Psychiatry, 25(2), 108-113. https://doi.org/10.37822/2410-7484.2019.25.2.108-113