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In any legal dispute the rules of court require the opposing parties to present their facts in court so that the court, through substantive law, may find the link between the statutory provision and the facts on hand. It is in the interpretation of the law based on facts presented where legal dispute abounds. It is submitted that there is not enough proof to conclude that Mr. James Smith broke the Prevention of Road Rage Act 2012.

CASE BACKGROUND 

The burden of proof must be determined to be able to conclude that Mr. Smith did violate the Prevention of   Road Rage Act 2012.

The prosecution intends to present Mr. Smith’s apology and an opinion from an expert on motorist behavior as proof that Mr. Smith did commit an offence.

POINTS OF LAW

The prosecution must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the Prevention of Road Rage Act 2012.  Jurisprudence speaks of the same philosophy.  In the case of FERGUSON V R [1979] 1 WLR 94,  the decision mentioned “satisfied beyond reasonable doubt so that you feel sure of the accused’s guilt.”  The magistrate should only convict if he/she is sure of the defendant’s guilt (Wadlow, 2011: 78.)  The common rule is that the party initiating legal proceedings, and seeking to establish liability, bears the legal burden of persuading the court of his allegations (Cowen and March, 2004:56).

With regard to the evidential burden in this case, the prosecution must show sufficient evidence that Mr. Smith’s act was one of INTENT AND MALICE when he performed such gestures.  According to the author, Murphy P. Murphy, evidential burden is to show that there is sufficient evidence to raise an issue.  Based on Mr. Smith’s confession, he did those gestures to warn the other driver about the broken headlight.  Mr. Smith also mentioned that he only apologized because the other driver threatened to thump him if he didn’t, and that what he said was not true because his gestures were not rude or offensive.

S 30, Criminal Justice Act 1998 provides that expert reports are admissible in criminal cases.  Such expert evidence can include hearsay material only for evaluating the expert’s evidence. (Abadom [1983] 1 WLR 126)

The jurisprudence in Cannings [2004] 1 WLR 2607 states that:

…serious disagreement between reputable experts …should not be started or continued, unless there is additional cogent evidence….”.  Since Dr. Clarkson’s expertise is being questioned by his colleagues, the defence may always present another expert to contravene Dr. Clarkson’s conclusions.

Summary

As mentioned earlier, criminal cases require that the prosecution carries the burden to show proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused, Mr. Smith is guilty of the Prevention of Road Rage Act 2012.  The important factor that must be proved is Mr. Smith’s intent to cause offence as based on how the law was worded and stated.

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