Polygraph tests being allowed in child abuse cases has hit the headlines the last few weeks. This week the courts are judging the case of Emma Tustin. Emma Tustin, 32, has hit news headlines after she was arrested on suspicion of murdering her 6 year old step-son, Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. We question whether a new scheme of using polygraph testing on suspected child abusers could have helped save the life of a child such as Arthur.
Coventry crown court are currently listening to the trial of Emma Tustin. Four days into the trial Tustin admitted to “assaulting” Arthur. She admits to being “extremely cruel” to him – despite having previously denied it.
Tustin pleaded not guilty to murder and to three count of child cruelty. One count of cruelty related to assault. Tustin did admit to one child cruelty offence for making Arthur stand in isolation for up to 14 hours a day. Thomas Hughes, 29, a former partner of Tustin’s and the father of Arthur, denies all of the same charges.
On November 12th 2021, prosecutor Jonas Hankin began his cross-examination. He questioned if Tustin disregarded Arthur’s welfare to which she replied: “ I disregarded him. I couldn’t be bothered with the daily stress he was causing”.
Tustin began crying after hearing an audio-clip she recorded of Arthur saying repeatedly ‘no-one’s going to feed me’. Mr Hankin said she was a ‘leader in the cruelty’ and therefore wasn’t just following rules set by Hughes as Tustin has claimed previously.
Meanwhile, Tustin replied by saying she and Hughes ‘both contributed’ and added: “At that time I was not in a good place. I continued to go through the days. I was like a zombie. Completely switched off. It was allowed to happen. It wasn’t like it was planned. Wasn’t intended to get this far. It did.”
How could a lie detector have helped?
Neighbours reported abusive behaviour to the police hoping Arthur’s case would be looked at. If the police could have conducted a lie detector test, Arthur’s case could have shown up as dangerous earlier on and therefore potentially prevented his death. Tustin, for instance, could have sat a test just a month into the report being opened, and been stopped much sooner.
There is a national movement for police to be allowed to carry out polygraph tests on suspects for child abuse. The scheme means any report given to the police can result in questioning and, most importantly, suspects will have to take a polygraph test. In conclusion, more offenders could be identified sooner resulting in lives such as Arthur’s being saved.
If you believe someone you know or a child is in danger, please report it immediately to your local authorities. To book a lie detector test please call us on 0800 368 8277 or use our online booking system.
Follow the Tustin case as it unfolds in court by reading the Birmingham Mail online.