Minna Palander-Collin & Ina Liukkonen University of Helsinki “Constructing the defendant role in the trial proceedings of the Old Bailey: Guilty or not guilty.”
This paper explores the construction of the defendant role in the trial proceedings of the Old Bailey Corpus, 1720-1913. The aim is to find out how defendants position themselves discursively in the courtroom and in relation to the crime they are accused of. With keyword, phrase frame and cluster tools we map linguistic patterns comparing them in time and between men and women. The usage of two keywords innocent and guilty are analysed more closely in context as they explicitly position the defendant in relation to the charges. The analyses highlight various aspects of the defendant role construction on different levels of granularity and link findings to the changing context of the courtroom and the judicial system.