The Crime, Justice and Society presents

Rap lyrics in prison trials: What does the case legislation inform us?

Abenaa Owusu-Bempah, Assistant Professor of Regulation, LSE

Concerning the seminar
It has turn out to be more and more frequent for prosecutors to depend on rap lyrics and movies as proof of guilt in prison trials, regardless of rising concern in regards to the discriminatory nature of this follow. This presentation will discover the present strategy to the admissibility and use of rap music in English prison trials by presenting findings from an evaluation of over 30 reported attraction circumstances. A lot of themes emerge from the case legislation in respect of the character of the fees and the profile of defendants, together with age, ethnicity and placement. The case legislation additionally reveals that rap music is usually handled as ‘unhealthy character proof’ to ascertain gang affiliation and, in flip, legal responsibility for an offence. In addition to difficult the categorisation of rap music as ‘unhealthy character proof’, the presentation critiques the way in which wherein questions of relevance and prejudicial impact have been addressed by the courts. Particularly, when making admissibility selections, the courts seem to provide little, if any, consideration to the cultural context, inventive conventions or social influences inside the rap music style. These components have an effect on each the probative worth of the proof and the equity of its admission. It is going to be argued that courts must be sluggish to confess rap music as proof of guilt, and shouldn’t allow prosecutors to depend on stereotypical narratives and racist imagery to assemble case theories.


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