UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
COMMON LAW REASONING AND INSTITUTION
ESSAY TITLE: “It is a general problem not specific to the law of the United Kingdom: a criminal justice system characterised by an emphasis on crime control rather than due process will inevitably produce miscarriages of justice.”
STUDENT NUMBER: 111099151
CANDIDATE NUMBER: 110466
* What is Criminal Justice System?
* Theories and perspectives of criminal justice system
* Miscarriage of justice
* What due process entails
* What crime control entails
* The conflict between crime control and due process in the miscarriage of justice cases
Criminal justice system is that branch of the English Legal System with a set of legal and social institutions for enforcing criminal law in accordance with the defined set of procedural rules and limitations. Just as the social functions of the criminal law may be seen to be quite diverse, so too are the different social theories or models that underpin the Criminal Justice System. A number of the models of the criminal justice system that may be identified are; the due process model, crime control model, a medical model, the restorative justice model, the bureaucratic model, status passage model, power model and social integration and exclusion model. Many a times the failure to observe due process and strict adherence to the crime control model may lead to miscarriage of justice. Some may ask, ‘’what is miscarriage of justice?’’ There is no clear definition of miscarriage of justice. However some scholars have defined it to encompass the breach of due process by governmental agencies thus resulting to a wrongful conviction. Others view miscarriage of justice as errors of impunity. In line with the different definitions by the different scholars, I view miscarriage of justice as the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime they did not commit. In most cases this results from the breach of due process, resulting from the need by government to control crime. Due process is a very important component of the criminal justice system of any country. It focuses on individual liberties and rights and is concerned with limiting governmental powers. It may be defined as the belief that an individual cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards. Any person charged is supposed to have his rights protected by the criminal justice system under due process. The guaranty of due process means that no accused is punished without an orderly and adequate procedure that is applicable uniformly in all cases. Under a due process, every accused has a right to; get an advance notice of trial, get an opportunity to be present at his hearing, be heard and to defend himself either in person or by a legal representative. It covers a wide range of areas that include; treatment of suspects while in detention, confessions, identification of suspects and so on. Breach of due process may have its share of consequences in that, the defendant may be released upon its discovery but he would have spent a long time in prison for a crime he did not commit. This was evidenced in the case of Maguire Seven where the defendants were convicted of handling explosives. The prosecution relied on the fact that the defendant’s had knowingly handled nitroglycerine for an unlawful purpose. The charge required a positive trace on the body or clothing of the defendants and innocent contamination had to be discounted. The scientific evidence presented at trial was used to construct a narrative of bomb preparation. In fact, Stockdale asserts that later test showed the brittle nature of legal extrapolation from scientific fact and there were a number of explanations as to how these traces of nitroglycerine could have found their way onto the defendants’ bodies. By the time a successful appeal was granted all but one of the defendants had served their sentences. One of the...
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