Chapter 1 examines a number of basic concepts and distinctions in the law of evidence. It covers facts in issue and collateral facts; relevance, admissibility, and weight; direct evidence and circumstantial evidence; testimonial evidence and real evidence; the allocation of responsibility; exclusionary rules and exclusionary discretions; free(r) proof; issues in criminal evidence; civil evidence and criminal evidence; the implications of trial by jury; summary trials; law reform; and the implications of the Human Rights Act 1998. This chapter also presents an overview of the subsequent chapters.
The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, bullet-pointed answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary and illustrative diagrams and flow charts. This chapter focuses on the rule against hearsay, which is, historically, one of the great exclusionary rules underlying the law of evidence. In 1997 the Law Commission recommended that hearsay evidence be put on a clearer statutory footing in criminal trials. This eventually led to wholesale reform in the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) 2003, which preserves the rule but increases the number of exceptions and safeguards, providing a comprehensive regime for hearsay. The chapter provides an overview of the changes to hearsay introduced by the CJA 2003.
4. Improperly obtained evidence other than confessions
This chapter focuses on prosecution evidence that is relevant but improperly obtained and consequently may be excluded by judicial discretion. It looks at the exclusionary discretion contained within s78 of the UK’s Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and explains how common law and statutory exclusionary discretion may be exercised in relation to other areas of evidence, such as character evidence and hearsay evidence, as well as confessions. The chapter also looks at the most common areas of exclusion, other than confession evidence, including breach or evasion of legislation such as PACE and the Codes of Practice. Police undercover activity is examined. Consideration is given to when a stay of prosecution might be the appropriate procedure. Finally, it discusses the relevant principles of Art 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that are enshrined in s78 of PACE.