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Forensic linguistics is a branch of applied linguistics that examines all the various ways in which language and the law can intersect. This could range from direct ways such as when a crime is committed based on what was said or written (e.g. a lie, a threat,  sexual harassment, etc) to decisions about the best way to do and interpretation for a witness inside a courtroom. Where the law is concerned, language isn't merely a vehicle for conveying information, it is a precision tool wielded by wordsmiths who can often determine the outcome of a courtroom case simply by use of language. 

My specific interest in this broad field has to do with courtroom discourse analysis as well as methods of articulating language rights. During my Ph.D. dissertation, I wondered how well judges in the Jamaican courtroom understood witnesses who were charged with a crime but had a minimal grasp of the English language. From my observations, while attending the Gun Court in Jamaica witnesses never asked for the services of an interpreter opting instead to use their lawyer as an ad hoc go-between the judge and themselves. Gun Court trials are judge only, so the final decision rested with the judges. Luckily for my research, the judges explain the rationale for their verdict, and what they understood from the case, in their summary. So my research focused on examining the judge's summations to see to what extent they correctly interpreted details from the witness testimony. 

Since completing my dissertation I've done several consultancies concerning language issues involving Jamaican witnesses in Ontario courtrooms, as well es giving expert witness testimony in a Toronto murder trial. I have experience with transcription, translation, and analysis of courtroom recorded audio and police write tap evidence. If you think you have a case that might lend itself to linguistic analysis feel free to send me a message using the contact on the home page and I'll be in touch. 

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