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Evidence Is The Basis of Justice - Dissertation Example

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This dissertation examines the English law of evidence within the context of the Jeremy Bentham’s quote “to exclude evidence is to exclude justice”. This paper also examines the treatment of criminal evidence in judicial trials under the English law…
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Download file to see previous pages The dissertation "Evidence Is The Basis of Justice" presents the analysis of the treatment of criminal evidence in judicial trials under English law.
In common law, the rule is that admissible evidence should be excluded if its probative value is more than offset by its illegitimately prejudicial effect. Probative value refers to the correct assessment of the significance evidence in relation to law and facts. The prejudicial effect is an incorrect assessment of the significance of evidence in relation to the erroneous application of law to the facts. Probative value and prejudicial effect are commensurable prone to a continuum of risk of error.
In Maxwell v DPP, the House of Lords observed the exclusion of propensity evidence as ‘one of the most deeply rooted and jealously guarded principles of our criminal law’. Forty years later, in DPP v Boardman, House of Lords described the exclusion of propensity evidence as ‘pitted battlefield', obviously referring to the trajectory of treatment of exclusionary rule and admission of propensity evidence in some exceptional cases. In 2006, the High Court made a strict application of the exclusionary rule in Phillips v The Queen. This case involved the independent allegations of six teenage girls that the defendant known socially had raped or indecently assaulted them in like situations for over two years. The defendant denied the allegations and asserted that it was with the consent of some others. In the current U.K. law, the common law exclusionary rule has been abolished....
The defendant denied the allegations in some cases and asserted that it was with consent in some others. Since credibility of the complainants was in issue, judge allowed to tie all the cases together with cross-admissibility so as to justify admissibility of propensity evidence under exceptional circumstance, resulting in conviction of the defendant in respect of allegations of five out of the six complainants. Although the appeal court confirmed the decision, the High Court quashed the convictions holding that evidence should be excluded. However, retrials were ordered. This, an Australian case, was pursued further only by two of the complainants. One of them resulted in a hung jury with the complainant abandoning any further trial. The other ended in conviction for rape. Meanwhile, another complainant made a charge that the defendant while on bail awaiting retrial, raped her twice for which the defendant pleaded guilty. Thus, the cases ended with conviction of the defendant for six and a half years of imprisonment and three years and three months non-parole.9 The current U.K. law in this connection is that common law exclusionary rule has been abolished with the enactment of Criminal Justice Act 2003 in part 11, Chapter 1.10. However, propensity evidence is relevant for only admission and it is for the trial judge to exclude it or not depending on whether it would be unjust or its likely to have adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings as per section 78 of Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PCE) 11 and s101 of Criminal Justice Act 200312. PCE actually provides for exclusion of unfair evidence. Part 11 of the Criminal Evidence Act 2003 deals with evidence of bad character which the common law had provided for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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