This book's first chapter covers the principles of criminal evidence, procedure, criminal justice and Human Rights. It brings out five foundational principles of criminal evidence, the rules and discretion. It connects the evidence to the Human Rights Act, constitutional criminal procedure etc. it is a critical commentary on regulating principles and admission rules in the context of broader criminal justice.
It is argued that the principles are not readily available to suit all the circumstances and situations. "Principles of the Law of Evidence are not ready-made and awaiting collection; rather, they have to be reconstructed from the relevant institutional materials," Roberts and Zuckerman (2004, p.5). Evidence is the legal fact-finding exercise and there are many determining facts in legal procedures. It is usually applicable to civil and criminal proceedings although it need not be so always.
In a civil litigation, it is confined to the parties' right to access the evidence. This does not mean that there is nothing in common between civil and criminal law procedures; but the theoretical and practical differences cannot be ignored.
Criminal procedure and criminal justice have unique requirements and evidence answers most of it. It is the work of the State to make offenders suffer for their crime, and the punishment should have its own message. "Any account of criminal punishment would be seriously incomplete without reference to the message of blame with penal hard treatment is meant to convey," (pp.12-13). Retributive punishment is considered to be more appropriate than other kinds and this issue resurrects the rectitude and integrity of the administration with proper legal rights given to the defendant. "Amongst the most prominent corrective mechanisms is the presumption of innocence, reinforced by the privilege against self-incrimination," (p.15). The public confidence that the administration of criminal justice invokes is very important for the state and people both and despite a public trial being extremely painful for the involved parties; it is preferred as there is no other authoritative validation of justice and rules of evidence too contribute to the public confidence. State's work is not only providing ample protection to the citizens, but also to punish the offenders, so 'effective conviction of the guilty and solicitous protection of the innocent' both are equally demanded from the State. It is not easy to forget that the criminals are usually another face of the society and reflect the society's rot.
The five principles of criminal evidence are:
1. A quest for accurate fact finding through evidence.
2. Pro-innocence bias.
3. Minimum intervention
4. Humane treatment
5. Upholding standards of propriety in criminal proceedings.
The rules, principles and discretions are stretched beyond limit in some modern cases today, as they are grounded in the modern society and it is difficult for the law to foresee all the circumstances. Hearsay evidence is, for example, considered to be inadmissible. But sometimes there are peculiar circumstances that might make it admissible, because peculiar circumstances might crop up later. It is the same again in admissibility of illegally obtained evidence. There could be confusion even in discretion. "To fully appreciate the role of discretionary standards in the