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Eyewitness Evidence as a Cause of Miscarriages of Justice in the UK - Literature review Example

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EYEWITNESS EVIDENCE AS a CAUSE OF MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM Name: Class: Professor: Institution: Miscarriage of justice is the punishment or conviction of an innocent person for the crime they did not commit. For a secure, just society it is significant that the criminal justice system is effective and fair…
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Eyewitness Evidence as a Cause of Miscarriages of Justice in the UK
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Download file to see previous pages Others reasons include, plea bargain which offer incentives for the innocent to plead guilty, prejudice towards the social class of people to which the defendant belongs , confirmation of bias by the investigators, over estimated evidential value of expert testimony and conspiracy between prosecutors and court of appeal judges to uphold conviction of an innocent person. (C. Ronald Huff, 2008, p. 80). There have been several cases of wrongful convictions because of untrue or distorted eyewitness evidence in the United Kingdom. This may include misidentification of the perpetrator by the witness or victims. This can have very serious implications to the person wrongfully convicted as sometimes the discovery of a wrongful conviction occurs after the innocent person has died in jail or executed. The wrongly convicted person and there family suffer real and irreversible effects. Because of the many cases of miscarriages of justice, there have been arguments against the death penalty that sees the wrongly convicted person executed promptly after conviction. An innocent person wrongfully convicted in the United Kingdom and jailed may be paid compensation for the time he or she was incarcerated, although, there is a statue that limits the most amount to be paid to five hundred thousand dollars. (Butterworths of New Zealand Ltd, 1991, p. 57). Cases in the United Kingdom such as the Greenberry Hill case where Green Robert, Henry Berry and Lawrence Hill were hanged in 1679 on false evidence for the unsolved murder of Edmund Godfrey. Sion Jenkins was acquitted in 2006 after a retrial because of inaccurate evidence in the case of the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins. He had been convicted in 1998. (Knoops, 2006, p. 73). Before the year 2005 in the United Kingdom, the parole system assumed that all the convicted persons were guilty. For the convicted person to be paroled one had to sign a document in which the convicted person confessed to the crime for which they were convicted. There were cases of a prolonged stay in jail for the people who refused to sign this declaration. An example of a case of the people who were denied parole because of not signing the document of confessing to the crimes convicted for is the Birmingham six. The system has since changed since 2005 and the convicted persons who never admit guilt are being given parole (Webber, 2009, p. 143). There is no official law in the United Kingdom that provides a means of correcting a conviction based on insufficient evidence. In the 1990s, several high profile cases turned out to be miscarriages of justice because of distorted or fabricated eyewitness testimonies and evidence by the police. This was also done for the police to get a high conviction rate. In 1989, the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad was disbanded because of being involved in the practices that resulted to miscarriages of justice. Due to the many miscarriages of justice, several Innocence Projects have been established as well as the Criminal Cases Review Commission that was established in 1997 to look at the possible cases of miscarriages of justice in the United Kingdom. The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an independent body that is mandated to investigate suspected miscarriages of justice in the United Kingdom. It is estimated that the commission refers thirty cases every year to the appellate courts and seventy-five percent of these cases succeed. (Austin Sarat, 1998,p. 107 ). The use of eyewitness ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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