DPP issues caution about polygraph testing
There is no legislation in Barbados that prohibits the use of polygraph testing but Director of Public Prosecution Charles Leacock cautioned that it cannot be used as conclusive evidence of guilt or innocence of an individual.
He made the revelation while delivering the feature address this afternoon during the closing ceremony of the inaugural Regional Security System Basic Polygraph Training Course, at the Regional Police Training Centre, Seawell, Christ Church.
Leacock said while the form of scientific testing should be viewed by the criminal justice system as an important tool, the rights of suspects must remain paramount.
He also explained that in order for the results to be used in the law courts, the lie detector test should be obtained voluntarily among other requirements.
“A suspect can only have a polygraph test if he agrees to one. If he agrees to have the test then the results may not be used to show by any means that it is conclusive of his guilt or of his innocence.
“An innocent man might well be a very nervous man or a guilty woman might well be much successful in passing a polygraph test as she might well be able to keep her blood pressure and skin connectivity to such an extent that she can pass the polygraph test easily.
“It is simply a tool of assessing his credibility. It must not be obtained by aggressive circumstances. It must not be obtained in breach of any rule that violates the suspect’s rights,” he said.
Twenty-four participants from six forces across the nation participated in the intense 10-week training programme facilitated by Chip Morgan and Lori Kosiarek from the Academy of Polygraph Science based in Florida.
In delivering remarks, Deputy Commissioner of Police Oral Williams said polygraph testing had a role to play in the proper administration of forces.
He said officers trained in the area have already used it to carry out pre-employment screening and as a result they obtained valuable information on applicants.
As he congratulated the successful participants, Williams told local officers that their new skills would be used for in house examination, in nearby jurisdictions and also indicated to them that local businesses were now requesting that the test be carried out on their employees.