Court experts sift fact from fiction

Shanghai prosecutors have recruited six psychologists to serve as human lie detectors in difficult cases.

Shanghai prosecutors have recruited six psychologists to serve as human lie detectors in difficult cases.

The psychologists question and observe the behavior of suspects, and their findings are given to prosecutors for reference. Over the past year, these experts have been involved in nearly 100 cases, prosecutors say.

Chen Zheying, from Changning District People’s Procuratorate, is one of these experts.

In one case assigned to Chen, a university graduate identified as Xiaoqi filed a lawsuit against a businessman surnamed Liu, accusing him of raping her. Xiaoqi said Liu approached her with a job offer in May last year. According to Xiaoqi, Liu said the interview would take place in a hotel room, but when they met in person Liu covered her head with a pillow and sexually assaulted her.

Liu claimed that he did not force the young woman to have sex, and presented WeChat messages between the two which seemed to support this story.

Chen designed a set of questions to test the claims of Liu and Xiaoqi. Based on their answers and reactions to these questions, Chen concluded that Liu was lying. Liu later admitted to his guilt in court.

Chen also consulted on a smuggling case against a woman accused of evading more than 310,000 yuan (US$45,052) in taxes on luxury goods bought in South Korea. The woman claimed she had been directed to the non-declaration channel at Hongqiao airport, and as surveillance tapes of her arrival had been destroyed, there was no evidence to challenge this claim.

Chen’s assessment again concluded that the suspect was lying. The accused smuggler later admitted to lying to police and confessed her guilt in court.


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