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The Autistic Defendant in the Courtroom

Autism and the Criminal Justice System Hub

What’s on offer?

The event will include a welcome and introduction, a presentation by Dr Clare Allely on Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Courtroom: Why it is Important to Recognise this Disorder in Defendants, a presentation by Felicity Gerry QC on Complicity and Injustices – Lessons from Cases on Joint Enterprise and Autism and a presentation by Professor Eddie Chaplin on Learning from a Specialist Liaison and Diversion (L&D) Service for Defendants with Neurodevelopment Conditions. This will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

What’s it about?

There is increased recognition that the ability to negotiate the criminal justice process may be particularly complex and difficult for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is crucial to inform the jury of the autistic defendant’s ASD diagnosis as it may help the jury understand their presentation during the court proceedings. Expert testimony provided to the jury regarding the defendants ASD diagnosis and how it presents in that particular defendant is vital in order to mitigate any negative perception the jury has of the apparent negative demeanour and lack of remorse exhibited by the defendant. If this is not provided it can have obvious detrimental and have negative consequences to them such as longer sentences, etc. A long sentence may be particularly damaging for someone with a diagnosis of ASD. This event will explore these issues from a psychological and legal perspective.

Who’s leading the event?

Dr Clare Allely, Reader in Forensic Psychology at the University of Salford. Clare is one of the co-founders of the Autism and the Criminal Justice System hub at the University.

Professor Felicity Gerry QC, admitted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, to the Bar of England & Wales and in Australia. She is Professor of Legal Practice at Deakin University and an Honorary Professor at the University of Salford. 

Dr Eddie Chaplin, Professor of Mental Health in Neurodevelopmental Disorders in the Department of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the School of Health and Social Care at LSBU.

Open to

Anyone over 18 years.

Of particular interest to

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders; the general public; family and friends of individuals with autism; academics (e.g., psychologists, criminologists, law, social policy, social work); criminal justice professionals (e.g., police officers, prison staff, probation officers, custody officers); lawyers, judges and barristers; educators; social workers; policy makers.