A case study

A case study (2500 words – 40%).

For this, you need to pick ONE of the three “cases” below.  Once you have decided on your case, you need to address the psychological issues and how you would assist in dealing with them at ONE of three stages:
a.    Either: What psychological features, issues or characteristics should the investigation team consider when interviewing this individual and gathering other relevant evidence?  What advice would you give the team and how is this supported by relevant literature?  Please note: Psychological issues/features does not just mean “disorders” it may mean things such as memory, social influence, group dynamics and attitudes.  These could be of the individual or of the police officers themselves.
b.    Or: If the case came to trial, what might be the psychological features, issues or characteristics faced by the prosecution OR defence barristers in this case?  What issues might the jury focus on?  If you were asked to present a report to the jury, what advice would you give them and why?  Use relevant literature to support your arguments.  As before, this does not just mean disorders but may also include things such as non-verbal communication, understanding of scientific evidence and persuasion.
c.    Or: If the person were tried and convicted and you were the forensic psychologist assigned to assess this person, how would you proceed with the assessment?  What risk assessment tools would be most appropriate and why?  How would you address the treatment implications?  Draw on relevant literature in support of your answer.

Case 1: Lucas Jordan
Lucas is a 28 year old male who lives in North London with his girlfriend (Abbie) and their 2 year old daughter (Maisie).  He obtained a Double First in Politics and Economics from Keble College, Oxford and upon graduation he started as an intern in a large investment bank in the City.  Lucas progressed rapidly through the firm and is currently considered to be one of their most promising investment advisors; with high hopes of being promoted to a senior management position in the next 18 months.  Despite having a reputation as a “hard worker”, Lucas is well liked by his colleagues because he is always “up for having a few drinks” after work.  According to Abbie’s friends, this has been a source of frustration to her and she has sometimes accused him of neglecting her and Maisie.
On the 23rd November 2013, police were called to a flat in Camden.  The resident, Ms Kijeck, works as a waitress in a local restaurant.  On arrival, Ms Kijeck claimed that she had been sexually assaulted and provided a description of a man matching Lucas’s appearance.  A subsequent examination revealed evidence of bruising and sexual activity and on questioning, Ms Kijeck claimed that she had met a man in a nightclub, had spent some time talking to him and had allowed him to see her home.  However she vehemently denied that she had consented to having sex with him.  CCTV showed Lucas and Ms Kijeck talking in the club earlier that evening but no clear footage exists of either of them leaving the club.  Police go to Lucas’s home and ask him to come to the local station for questioning and he agrees to do this.

Case 2: Usman Iqbal

Usman is a 32 year old male who is married with two young sons.  He is British by birth but his family are originally from Afghanistan and moved to the UK at the time of the Soviet Occupation in 1979.  He has extended family who fled into Pakistan in 1980 and has visited them in Karachi on several occasions since childhood.  Usman works in a call centre for a large insurance company in Birmingham.  Although he gets on well with his colleagues, he keeps to himself at work and takes little part in the company social life; which seems to consist of his colleagues getting “bladdered” and “laid” on weekends.  Instead he is actively involved in his local community, coaching a youth sports team and regularly acting as a “hospital driver” for older residents.  His wife regularly helps older residents with their shopping and both are regarded as pillars of their local community.
As Usman lives in Birmingham, he is no stranger to racist victimisation or radical/extremist views from within his own community.  Although a devout Muslim himself, he is seen by those around him as having “moderate” opinions.  He actively supports his local mosque’s policy of religious tolerance and has been known to challenge speakers he perceives as being too radical.  For this reason, his family and friends are shocked on 17th April 2013 when he is arrested and detained by police for “offences contrary to the Terrorism Act, 2000”.  He is accused of conspiring to set off an explosive device at the forthcoming “Summer of Shakespeare” festival in nearby Stratford upon Avon.  On searching his home, police find tickets to several of the festival events (which Usman claims were a surprise birthday treat for his wife), evidence of a recent trip to Pakistan as well as items that they describe as “incriminating” but which they will not disclose before questioning.  Usman is taken into custody and is about to be formally interviewed.

Case 3: Carl Jeffries

Carl is a 37 year old male who has an IQ of 65.  He has never lived independently and until recently, shared a house with his 70 year old mother.  Carl’s father left home when Carl was 8 years old and since then his mother has attempted two serious relationships, although both broke up due to Carl’s hostile reaction to his mother’s new partner.  In terms of employment, three years ago, Carl was made redundant from the factory where he had worked since the age of 18.  Since then, he has had a series of part-time and temporary jobs but has not managed to sustain a prolonged period of employment.  Since his initial redundancy, Carl has found it difficult to control his level of alcohol consumption and is known to the police for several violent incidents.
On the night in question, police were called to the house at Squire Street in Cardiff following a report of a disturbance from a neighbour.  Upon arrival, they discovered Carl sitting in an armchair in the living room.  His mother’s body was lying on the floor in front of the fireplace.  Traces of blood and hair were found on Carl’s person but these were not large amounts.  Carl was found in a highly emotional state but denied all knowledge of what had happened.  He was detained by police and taken to the local police station.

Criteria for Assessment
We will be using the standard self-assessment criteria – these can be found in your Course Handbooks for your particular award.  However, the following information will give you some specific pointers and hints relevant to the assessments on this module:
Case study:  You need to make recommendations and justify them so you can choose how to lay it out.  You CAN use a standard essay format if you want.  You CAN use a professional report format if you want (e.g. with headings such as Executive Summary, Background, Recommendations, Support for Recommendations) but make sure you refer to the case details and the published literature for evidence.  You could also have a series of separate documents/sections.

For example, if you were doing the investigation one, you might want to have a “summary” section, a “pre-interview preparation” section, a “behaviour during interview” section and a “follow-up/second interview” section – all of which would contain tailored advice and supporting evidence.

For the court one, you might have a “summary of the issues” a “strengths and weaknesses for the prosecution” a “strengths and weaknesses for the defence” and an “advice to the jury” section – again tailored recommendations and evidence.  Alternatively, you might decide to focus on ONE of these and give recommendations to either the prosecution or the defence and some recommendations to the jury.  In previous years, people have found that strengths for the prosecution sometimes end up as weaknesses for the defence (and vice versa).  This can lead to some unnecessary repetition – so use your common sense (and if in doubt…ask!).

Finally, if you were doing the treatment and assessment one, you might have sections for “tools selected” “procedure for assessment” “issues identified” “treatment recommendations” “proposed evaluation of treatment” – again, all tailored to the topic and all involving evidence.

You will probably want to flesh it out a bit (e.g. you might want to talk about the psychological robustness/vulnerability of Carl, give Lucas’s victim more of a profile or consider what the other incriminating evidence is against Usman).  However, you MUST make any fleshing out relate to your argument, the evidence you present and the recommendations you make.  In short, you must make this piece of work as internally consistent as you can.  Remember that your role is not to determine “whodunit” but to consider how the individual might behave during interview, come across in court or respond to treatment.  So please don’t get too tied up in challenging the evidence itself – but consider how those making the decisions might perceive the evidence.  For example, don’t spend hours telling me that the blood and hair amounts are wrong for Carl to have killed his mother – instead think about how he’s going to respond to that during questioning or whether your jurors are likely to understand the blood and hair evidence.  Similarly given that only 6% of rapes end in conviction, whether Lucas actually assumed consent rather than eliciting it is less important in a court setting than a post-conviction treatment setting.  What will matter in court is who appears more credible but the notion of consent may well be important in getting Lucas to admit responsibility during a Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP) based on challenging cognitive distortions.

If you want to flesh it out, then you can have a separate section called something like “case history,” “profile” “detailed case description” and you can write this without having to include it in your word count.

Also, you MUST pick your perspective (i.e. you must decide whether you are going to focus your case study on the investigation, court or treatment and stick to that perspective).  And don’t forget that, for both assignments you need to include references in APA format.  The more recent the better.