Article On Hearsay Evidence And Human Rights Chartered Institute Of Legal Executives Journal, October 2012

See on Scoop.itPublic Law Children Act Cases

In Tahery T was convicted 2 of wounding with intent and attempting to pervert the course of justice. One witness made a statement identifying T, but refused to give evidence because of fear of reprisals. The fearful witness’s statement was the only eyewitness evidence of the stabbing and was not supported by corroborative evidence that T was the attacker. The Grand Chamber considered the fact that T was able to give denial evidence and that the trial judge had carefully warned the jury about the risks in relying on untested evidence but held that these were insufficient to counterbalance the fact T was unable to cross examine the fearful witness. The implication is that trial judges should not be too free in allowing prosecution hearsay evidence to be admitted in ‘the interests of justice’ under sections 114 (1) (d) or 116 (4) of the CJA without corroboration.

Second, the Grand Chamber requires trial judges to be satisfied that the absent witness has a good reason for non-attendance regardless of whether or not that witness’s evidence is sole or decisive. Third, trial judges need to make sure that that the lack of cross-examination of the absent witness is compensated in a proportionate way. This must require corroborative evidence which means that hearsay evidence cannot be solely the basis for conviction. However, hearsay evidence will be decisive where the corroborative evidence affirms the statement of the absence witness identifying the defendant, for example the alleged victim of the offence is punctual in making a complaint to the police affirming the identification. But if the corroborative evidence is strong and independent, for example DNA evidence then that would mean the hearsay evidence would not be decisive. In any case it appears that corroborative evidence is required before hearsay can be admitted and to ignore this requirement is to risk a violation of article 6. So this is a pyrrhic victory for the Supreme Court and for the UK Government but the decision of the Grand Chamber should be welcomed because it supports the common law tradition of orality and the importance of cross-examination. So there appears to potential for further disagreement between the Supreme Court and Strasbourg as to how much hearsay should be admitted in criminal trials.


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Your ‘Family Rights’ believing in the best interest of children. The issues which are important to me are, children and their families, the injustices to parents, which may occur, because of inadequate information, mistakes or corruption. This is happening every day. every minute and every second.
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1 Response to Article On Hearsay Evidence And Human Rights Chartered Institute Of Legal Executives Journal, October 2012

  1. Pingback: Statute – Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia | Parents Rights Blog

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