The Scottish Legal System The Law Of Evidence Law Essay

In Scots Law, the Law of Evidence operates on the general rule of who asserts must turn out. This legal rule is known as the load of cogent evidence. There is a responsibility on he who claims to show obliging grounds to the tribunal to back up his averment. No 1 is obliged to confute a claim which is missing cogent evidence. I shall critically analyze with mention to instance jurisprudence, legislative acts and legal commentaries the impression of who asserts must turn out in The Law of Evidence in Scotland.

The load of cogent evidence ( onus probandi ) can be defined as legal responsibility upon a party to turn out or confute a disputed fact or facts during the class of judicial proceeding[ 3 ]. This means in the most general of footings, that if on any issue of fact if no grounds is led, or the grounds leaves the affair in uncertainty, the party upon whom the load of cogent evidence remainders has non discharged it, and consequently fails on that issue[ 4 ]. It makes no difference to his failure that his opposition may non hold proved his ain assertions[ 5 ].

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Scots felon tribunals place the load of cogent evidence on the prosecution at all times[ 6 ]. This is because in condemnable proceedings the tribunal must presume artlessness[ 7 ]. The accused can non be found guilty by a tribunal unless the prosecution provides grounds to turn out his guilt ; and so in class, he can non be punished by a condemnable tribunal unless he has foremost been found guilty[ 8 ]. This given of artlessness is unqualified using to everyone who is charged with a condemnable offense regardless of their character[ 9 ]. This point of jurisprudence is articulated this facet of the jurisprudence in Slater V HM Advocate.

“ The jury was told that what is familiarly known as the given of artlessness in the condemnable instances applied to the plaintiff in error ( in visible radiation of his equivocal character ) with less consequence than it would hold applied to a adult male whose character was non unfastened to intuition. This amounted, in our sentiment, to a clear misdirection in jurisprudence. The given of artlessness applies to every individual charged with a condemnable offense in exactly the same manner, and it can be overcome merely by grounds relevant to turn out offense with the committee of which charged. ”[ 10 ]

It is because of this active given of artlessness in condemnable tests, the load of cogent evidence lies with the Crown to turn out the accused ‘s guilt beyond a sensible uncertainty[ 11 ]. If grounds is lead by the prosecution a moderately uncertainty exists as to the accused ‘s guilt, he must be acquitted[ 12 ]. The evidentiary load of cogent evidence corsets with the Crown throughout the whole of the trail. Even in the scenario where the accused is pleading a line of defense mechanism under common jurisprudence or statute the load remains the same[ 13 ]. It is said to be an “ a sedate misdirection to propose that the accused carries a load of turn outing artlessness. ”[ 14 ]

It would be hard to better upon Lord Sankey LC ‘s preparation of this in Woolmington V DPP[ 15 ], an English instance but one which expresses the Scots rule every bit good[ 16 ].

There is has been a inclination, peculiarly on the portion of English legal authors, to separate what they call the “ legal ” load cogent evidence from what they call the “ probationary ” load[ 17 ]. The legal load is the demand on the prosecution to present grounds before the tribunal to entitle it to convict[ 18 ]. There comes nevertheless at which the grounds led by the prosecution is sufficient for the accused to be convicted unless he leads converting grounds is led in his defense mechanism. This is the “ probationary ” load. A instance where such a load did originate is Milne V Whaley in which the accused was acquitted by a sheriff on a charge of driving with a license or insurance because there was no documentation[ 19 ]. The High tribunal held that the on entreaty the Sheriff ‘s attack had been wrong, stating:

“ All the Crown has to make is to show Prima facie the absence of an entitlement to drive and the Crown has richly done that in this instance by turn outing the fortunes in which the charge was brought. There so if an accused individual wants to displace the Prima facie illation… it is for him to make so. ”[ 20 ]

Another illustration where a probationary load may originate is in fortunes, where the accused is found in “ recent ownership ” of stolen goods may to turn out that he is non guilty of larceny or reset[ 21 ].

“ If the regulation is to hold full consequence in switching the onus signifier the prosecution to the accused and raising a given of guilt which the accused must redargue or neglect, three conditions must agree: – ( a ) that the stolen goods should be found in the ownership of the accused ; ( B ) that the interval between the larceny of the goods and their find in the accused ‘s ownership should be shortaˆ¦ and ( degree Celsius ) that there should be “ other criminatory fortunes “ over and above the bare fact of existent ownership ”[ 22 ].

This may be an unfortunate displacement on the burden of cogent evidence, although it has been repeated in the tribunals since, in Cryans v Nixon[ 23 ]. A garage proprietor was charged with the larceny of motor accoutrements and bit metal. The accused ‘s premises were about 200 paces from the premises from which the goods had been stolen ; paths could be seen taking from those premises to the accused ‘s premises. On a hunt being made, some of the stolen belongings was found in one of the accused ‘s sheds and that the accused, when asked for an account, replied that he knew nil about the belongings in inquiry[ 24 ]. The Sheriff applied application of the philosophy of recent ownership, rejected the account, and convicted the accused. On entreaty it was that held the proven facts did non entitle the Sheriff to see the instance as one in which there was an burden on the accused to refute the given of guilt originating from the ownership of late stolen goods and strong belief quashed

It is in McDonald v HM Advocate Lord Justice General Hope articulates that the philosophy of recent ownership “ can non be confined within the ordinary regulation that the burden of cogent evidence remains throughout on the Crown.[ 25 ]“ In rule, the legal load remainders with the prosecution but can be discharged by cogent evidence of “ recent ownership ” in this manner, and in such fortunes all that displacement is the “ probationary load ”[ 26 ].

The tribunals besides recognise that where an account for otherwise leery behavior lies particularly within the cognition of the accused a probationary load may fall load may fall upon him to explicate his behavior[ 27 ]. In HM Advocate V Hardy, the accused was charged with fraud by feigning to be the hubby of a asleep adult female and as such entitled to legal rights in her estate[ 28 ]. The jury, took note of that fact that the accused had non gone into the witness-box to state where he had met the deceased, where they were married or what had to the work forces he claimed acted as informant at the ceremonial[ 29 ]. Lord Justice-Clerk Aitchison articulated ;

“ There are certain instances in which the proven facts may raise a given of guilt, and in which, in the absence of some account by the individual accused, – where the individual accused is the one individual who can cognize the existent truth – a jury adult male be entitled to continue to pull an illation of guilt ; and I direct you in jurisprudence that this is one of them ”[ 30 ]

At first sight, such a rule may be thought to be at odds with the right to hush[ 31 ]. An reply to this “ struggle ” is suggested by Mochan V Herron, where Sherriff Peterson observed that an accused in leery fortunes was to the full entitled to stay soundless ( unlike other informants, who can be held in disdain of tribunal for non attesting ) but if the accused did stay soundless there could be no expostulation to the tribunal pulling its ain decision from the grounds[ 32 ].

The defense mechanisms of insanity and diminished duty topographic point a impermanent persuasive load on the accused. When subjecting a particular defense mechanism there is responsibility for the accused party to supply progress notice of such an purpose[ 33 ]. At common jurisprudence, alibi, inculpation, and self defense mechanism are considered as particular defense mechanisms[ 34 ]. By legislative act, automatism, coercion and consent in sexual offenses are considered particular defense mechanisms.[ 35 ]

As a particular defense mechanism if insanity is proven, the accused will be acquitted[ 36 ]. Normally adept grounds is given to back up such an averment[ 37 ]. Unlike insanity, lessened duty is non a particular defense mechanism. If successfully pleaded by the accused lessened duty will non take to an acquittal instead it will take to a decrease of the charge of slaying to blameworthy homicide[ 38 ].A At common jurisprudence there is a given of saneness that must be rebutted by the party avering insanity or diminished duty[ 39 ]. A persuasive load is placed on the accused from the beginning to turn out insanity or diminished responsibly is invoked as a defense mechanism[ 40 ]. The criterion of cogent evidence of the provided grounds in support of these defense mechanisms is on balance of chances at most[ 41 ]. These defense mechanisms would be hard disprove, peculiarly so as the prosecution do non hold the authorization to enforce that the accused submit to psychiatric scrutiny[ 42 ]. Possibly it is for grounds of convenience that that load is placed with the accused[ 43 ].

The Criminal Justice and Licensing ( Scotland ) Act 2010 which received Royal Assent on the 6th of August this twelvemonth, histories for these outlooks through legislative act[ 44 ].A However the term insanity non present in the Bill, instead headed as “ condemnable duty of individuals with mental upset. The Act does non amend the load of cogent evidence for these defense mechanisms and the general common jurisprudence regulations will still stand[ 45 ].

Civil instances frequently work by the prescribed rule that the load of cogent evidence “ rests with the party who would neglect if no grounds were adduced on either side[ 46 ]“ . Hence the load of cogent evidence usually lies with the chaser[ 47 ].

At different points of a civil test, the load of cogent evidence frequently switches between parties in regard of different issues[ 48 ]. In instances of carelessness, the chaser will bear the load of showing grounds that the guardian has been negligent. However should the guardian want to plea a defense mechanism such as contributory carelessness, or Volenti non tantrum Injuria ( to a willing individual, no hurt is done ) , so he will the load of cogent evidence in that issue. This is because a party to a civil instance will non usually be required to turn out a negative – and so it is for the guardian to turn out these defense mechanisms, non for the chaser to confute them[ 49 ].

Statutory commissariats can put a load of cogent evidence but alter who the load of cogent evidence lies with. Nimmo V Alexander Cowan & A ; Sons Ltd is the taking instance foregrounding this issue. In Nimmo there was an alleged breached of statutory responsibility under the Factories Act 1967. S 29 ( 1 ) of the act sets out that a mill “ shall, far as moderately operable, be made and maintain safe for any individual working at that place ” . It was held it was non for the purser to subject grounds that premises were non safe, but non that it was non “ moderately operable ” to do them safe. If the guardian wished reply upon this provision, he bore the load of cogent evidence in that regard. In the words of Lord Wilberforce, “ exclusions, ECT. are to be set up by those who rely on them.



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