Otherwise known as the yes syndrome, there is a known phenomenon with indigenous people in Australia that where there is a pressure to respond to persons in authority, to tell them what they want to hear or to respond to questions framed from yes or no answers with a yes. This does not mean agreement but indicating a desire to be seen as amenable. It is done as a defence mechanism and an ordinance technique. As a result, indigenous people in Australia greater cultural disadvantage under interrogation cross-examination because I do not understand the legal significance of the responses in an Australian adversarial system.
This has come up in relation to confessions by aboriginal people because when an aboriginal person is being interrogated as a suspect, unless he is is fluent in English as the average White band of English descent, an interpreter able to interpret in and from the original persons language should be present, and his assistant should be utilised whenever necessary to ensure complete and mutual understanding. Watch video in link below
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Judges who have dealt with cases in relation to these matters has suggested that when an aboriginal person is being interrogated it is desirable where practicable that a person’s friend who may also be interpreted be present. The prisoner’s friend should someone in whom the aboriginal person has apparent confidence. In many the omission or settlement superintendent or a member of the staff of one of these institutions who knows and is also known by the person. He may be a station owner, manager or overseer of the Department. The combinations of persons and situations are bearable and the categories of persons I’ve mentioned is not exclusive.
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