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Essay example - Reversing the Burden of Proof

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Pages 8 (2008 words)
Fundamental and crucial indeed is the basic precept in criminal law that the burden of proving the guilt of the defendant resides on the prosecution. The statement of Viscount Sankey LC in Woolmington v DPP [1935] AC 462, 461 rings loud and clear:
'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 …

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The International Covenant on Civil, Cultural and Political Rights (ICCPR) contains iron-clad guarantees to protect the rights of the accused facing trial for a crime. Articles 9, 14 and 15 spell out these rights in great detail - from the presumption of innocence to the right against self-incrimination to the right against double jeopardy and to the famous Miranda doctrine. Closer to home, under Article 6(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights, an accused enjoys a presumption of innocence. (Keane, 2006) At a time when human rights advocacy for the accused has been made unpopular by the rising rate of crime and thus, there is a greater risk of possible infringement of constitutional guarantees by overzealous constables, vigilance is imperative.
'...the more serious the crime and the greater the public interest in securing convictions of the guilty, the more important do constitutional protections of the accused become. ...
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