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The imposition of the legal burden on the prosecution is a formality - Essay Example

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Legal matters are highly complex because there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before a verdict can be reached. The greatest complexity that lies when one is dealing with a legal issue is that burden of proof. …
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The imposition of the legal burden on the prosecution is a formality
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Download file to see previous pages Legal matters are highly complex because there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before a verdict can be reached. The greatest complexity that lies when one is dealing with a legal issue is that burden of proof. Every man or woman, who is guilty of a crime the law, grants them an opportunity to defend themselves and provide sufficient evidences to prove their innocence. Therefore, those people who believe that legal burden of evidences is shouldered by the prosecution is largely a legal formality and it is in fact the defense that needs to proof the innocence of the defendant. This is most commonly known as evidential burden and is usually presented by the defense and subjected to further analysis by the prosecutor. A very important dictum by Viscount Sankey in 1935 forms of the basis of this legal argument is: “Throughout the web of the English criminal law one golden thread is always to be seen, that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt subject to ...the defense of insanity and subject also to any statutory exception”. The aforementioned statement takes the English Criminal system into account and describes how it is always the prosecution’s duty to prove the defendants guilt, hence the prosecution shoulders the burden of proving the guilt and assessing the credibility of the defendant’s proof. This clearly indicates that actually the burden of presenting the proofs of innocence lies with the defendant. Courts have placed the entire legal responsibility on the defendant ‘by necessary implication’. According to Ashworth and Blake, around 40% of the trails held at crown court actually require the defendant to prove his defense or at least one element of his offence to actually be cleared of all charges that are pressed against the individual in question. This is widely adopted form of jurisprudence and in many European nations the same practice is implemented. This can be further understood by taking the following statement in to account, which was given by European convention of human rights. It is stated, “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law”. (Cooper, 2003, p. 3) Therefore, it is extremely lucid as to why the actual burden of trial is on the defendant because it is a constitutional right of every individual to defend him or her against any charges and effectively provide plausible evidences or alibi that completely exonerates them. Then as a formality, the persecution actually assesses and cross-questions the defendant to make sure that the evidences brought forward by the individual are reliable and sufficient enough for the court to reach a verdict. It is true that modern criminal justice system has changed immensely and now every individual whether guilty or innocent, do rights in order to protect their interests. The fact that now the criminal justice system provides every individual the latitude to have a say in their trial, they actually provide the evidences themselves and actually speed up the process by providing first-hand evidences and saves a lot of time for the court. This aspect of a criminal trail was further elaborated by the trial of Sachs J in State vs. Coetzee in 1997 trial; in the trail it was made clear that the more serious the offence is it is important that the defendant gets ample amount of say in the matter because the defendant’s entire life and future well-being is at stake. Therefore at a moral level it is only fitting that every individual gets a say in his trial and actually gets a chance to defend himself by providing evidence of his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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