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Criminal proceedings and the subsequent judgements, delivered by the juries therein, have proven the fact that a significant number of verdicts passed, are influence by inferences made from…
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Download file to see previous pages The active participation of the legislature started from the (DPP v Myers, 1965 AC 1001) case, where the House of Lords, stated, that the no uniform principles were being followed, in the current scenario and the future determination of exceptions to hearsay should be left to the legislature.
At the very onset, we should state that the Dictionary defines, ‘hearsay’ as ‘second-hand information’. Speaking in legal terms, Hearsay refers to the testimony given by a witness not about what they personally saw or heard but about something, someone else saw or said they heard. In legal cases, the use of hearsay has been resorted to include evidence that under other circumstances would not have been admissible in court. However at all times it must be borne in mind that Hearsay must not include, any form of gossip or rumours.
To state it in a more simple form, hearsay is according to Sir Auld, “ an assertion other than one made by a person while giving oral evidence in the proceedings as evidence as any fact asserted.” However, Hearsay is an exclusionary rule of Evidence Law albeit subject to a multitude of statutory and Common Law exceptions.
Tracing the origin of the concept of ‘hearsay’ leads us to the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, 1603 where wrongful judgement passed, based on hearsay evidence. It was this wrongful judgement that led the English Jurists to devise hard and fast rules with reference to hearsay evidence. Subsequently, all hearsay evidence was banned on the pretext that they were the admissions of a third party to whom neither the defendant nor the prosecution were privy to.
It is obvious that the hearsay rule is intricately interwoven with the concepts of “truth” and “proof” and with the credibility, reliability and the memory of the witness in question. Hearsay contains within its womb a very high degree of implication and this implication weighs very heavily on the minds of the jury before they deliver a verdict. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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