A critical discourse analysis of cross examination at the high court of Tanzania in Dar Es Salaam

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University of Dar es salaam
This study examined courtroom interaction between counsel and witness during cross examination at the High Court of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam. The objective of the study was to explore trial discourse practices in order to find out whether the distribution and exercise of agency roles at cross-examination accords lay witnesses a substantively just treatment to allow them freedom over their own narrative. The study worked on audio recordings of four case tried in the commercial Division of the High Court of Tanzania and interviews with judges, counsel and the Director of public prosecutions. Transcripts were analyzed following closely the Faircloughian method of Critical Discourse Analysis (TODA) Findings show that counsel utilize their institutional privileges to constrain witnesses’ interactional behavior to suit counsel’s desire. Counsel manipulate the interplay between primary and secondary realities to lower witnesses’ credibility. Beth counsel and judges work to maintain a distinct identity of the legal profession through a normative engagement with trial discourse. A religious adherence to the current distribution of discourse resources in the trial needs questioning if the judiciary is to be seen as an entity of the society administering law for the good of the society. Since discursive change seems hard to come by under the present circumstances, this study recommends a review of the distribution of agency roles, elevating the role of the judge beyond the administrator that he or she is in the adversarial trial today.
Available in printed form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF P302.K49)
Discourse analysis, Cross-examination, High Court of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam
Keya, A. M (2013) A critical discourse analysis of cross examination at the high court of Tanzania in Dar Es Salaam, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.