Homicide Investigation and Miscarriages of Justice

Carole McCartney, Cheryl Allsop, Sophie Pike

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines how police investigations fail, resulting in wrongful arrests or the charging of innocent individuals or the failure to detect an offender. Both outcomes are a failure to achieve ‘justice’, albeit ‘miscarriages of justice’ incorporate far wider considerations. This chapter focuses upon the misattribution of criminal liability in a criminal investigation or the failure to identify those responsible for criminal offences. The variables involved in criminal investigation are many, often disparate and frequently emanating from beyond the police organisation, but this chapter concentrates upon (in)action and behaviours directly attributable to policing staff. There is now a bedrock of research that, in examining previous wrongful convictions, claims to have identified the most common ‘root causes’ of failure in criminal investigations. Of course, each investigation has their own peculiarities and idiosyncrasies, but patterns may be discerned, with common features across failed investigations. These can manifest in a specific fashion in each case but have, at their heart, identifiable commonalities, which will be outlined in the context, primarily, of homicide investigations in England and Wales.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Homicide Investigation
EditorsCheryl Allsop, Sophie Pike
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003195283
ISBN (Print)9781032047263, 9781032049489
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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