Issues in criminal justice Sample

Denzil has been charged with the murder of Phoebe, aged 17. His defence will be one of complete denial. When interviewed by the police, Denzil admitted the offence; but he now insists that he did so only because the police pretended to have found DNA evidence linking him to the crime. They had no such evidence. Glass fragments from a window broken at the scene of the crime have been compared with minute glass fragments found embedded in Denzil's clothing.

According to a report prepared by Dr Holmes, a forensic scientist who will be called to testify for the prosecution, the chemical composition and refractive index of glass fragments taken from the crime scene exactly match that of the fragments recovered from Denzil's clothing. She added that only two percent of all glass used in the UK would match the glass from the crime scene, and concludes that the fragments found on Denzil's clothing "must beyond reasonable doubt have got there when he broke the window as he killed the deceased".

Denzil's wife and mother could each give evidence supporting the prosecution case; but they are reluctant to testify, and will do so 'only if they have no choice'. Explain the prosecution's burden of proof in this case. Deal with both the evidential and the persuasive (legal) burden. 1) The burden of proof is the burden of satisfying the court or jury in a case that certain facts about the case are true. '"The burden of producing evidence means that in general the party that cites specific facts for the substantiation of its claim also has the burden of producing the evidence to prove these facts.

This burden depends on the substantive law governing the claim. "' {1}. In a criminal trial, it is the prosecutions job to deal with the burden of proof. However an exception to this rule is if the defendant claims that his/she was legally insane at the point the offence was committed. In this case it is the defendant's duty to prove. In a jury trial, it is the jury's duty to decide whether this has been satisfied, this would be at the end of the trial. [1] The legal burden must be distinguished from the evidential burden.

The evidential burden is the duty to produce sufficient evidence to justify certain issues being left for the jury to consider. This means that the prosecution must first prove that the defendant had the actus reus and the mens rea of the crime that he/she is being charged with. And then they have to support their claim with evidence, this is the evidential burden. '"It is an obligation that shifts between the parties over the course of the hearing or trial. "' {2}.

It is the judge's duty in a case to be persuaded by the prosecution and defence that the issue in question is fit for the jury to consider. If however the prosecution are unable to discharge the evidential burden, the judge has the power to rule the defence has 'no case to answer' and direct an acquittal. The judge can also refuse to leave the decision to the jury if there is a lack of evidence supporting a defence, such as provocation. In the case of Denzil, the prosecution must have no flaws in their case against him.

However this would be hard to achieve because the police involved within the case pretended to have DNA evidence when they did not, this deception could make it hard for the prosecution to discharge the evidential burden, which could lead the defence to submit that Denzil has 'no case to answer'. But the prosecution could also rely on the evidence of glass fragments found on Denzil's person, because this evidence is not tainted and is admissible in the case against him.

Because Denzil has not pleaded that he was legally insane at the time the crime was committed it is still left to the prosecution to prove the legal or persuasive burden to the jury. It is up to the prosecution to show to the court and jury that the facts of the case are true. Facts such as that Denzil confessed to the murder of Phoebe, this is also the time in which Dr Holmes the expert witness would be called to the stand to give their knowledge on the glass fragments found on Denzil and at the scene of the crime.