Guilty Until Proven Innocent

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Under the Justinian Codes and English common law , the accused is presumed innocent in criminal proceedings, and in civil proceedings like breach of contract both sides must issue proof. The sixth-century Digest of Justinian It was introduced in Roman criminal law by emperor Antoninus Pius. Similar to that of Roman law, Islamic law also holds the principle that the onus of proof is on the accuser or claimant based on a hadith documented by Imam Nawawi. After the time of Muhammad , the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Thalib has also been cited to say, "Avert the prescribed punishment by rejecting doubtful evidence.


After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire , the West began to practice feudal law, which was a synthesis of aspects of Roman law as well as some Germanic customs according to the new elite, including presumed guilt. For instance, the accused could prove his innocence by having twelve people swear that he could not have done what he was accused of. In practice, this tended to favor the nobility over the lower classes, whose witnesses risked being seen as less credible. Following the aforementioned Roman law of Justinian, who lived at the dawn of the medieval era, the Eastern Roman Empire generally continued along his legal code which includes presumption of innocence.

This also influenced nearby states within its cultural sphere, such as Orthodox , Slavic principalities like Serbia. The maxim or its equivalent has been adopted by many civil law systems, including Brazil , [12] China , [13] France , [14] Italy , [15] [16] Philippines , [17] Poland , [18] Romania [19] and Spain.

Presumption of guilt

Garrow insisted that accusers be robustly tested in court. An objective observer in the position of the juror must reasonably conclude that the defendant almost certainly committed the crime. The presumption of innocence was originally expressed by the French cardinal and canonical jurist Jean Lemoine in the phrase " item quilbet presumitur innocens nisi probetur nocens a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty ", based on the legal inference that most people are not criminals.

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The presumption means: [21]. Blackstone's ratio as expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone in his seminal work, Commentaries on the Laws of England , published in the s, said that:. It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. The idea subsequently became a staple of legal thinking in Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions and continues to be a topic of debate. Throughout the web of the English criminal law one golden thread is always to be seen—that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner's guilt subject to what I have already said as to the defence of insanity and subject also to any statutory exception This right is so important in modern democracies , constitutional monarchies and republics that many have explicitly included it in their legal codes and constitutions:.

In the United Kingdom changes have been made affecting this principle. Defendants' previous convictions may in certain circumstances be revealed to juries. Although the suspect is not compelled to answer questions after formal arrest, failure to give information may now be prejudicial at trial. Statute law also exists which provides for criminal penalties for failing to decrypt data on request from the police. If the suspect is unwilling to do so, it is an offence. Furthermore, in sexual offence cases such as rape, where the sexual act has already been proved beyond reasonable doubt, there are a limited number of circumstances where the defendant has an obligation to adduce evidence that the complainant consented to the sexual act, or that the defendant reasonably believed that the complainant was consenting.

These circumstances include, for example, where the complainant was unconscious, unlawfully detained, or subjected to violence. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Criminal procedure Criminal trials and convictions Rights of the accused Fair trial Pre-trial Speedy trial Jury trial Counsel Presumption of innocence Exclusionary rule 1 Self-incrimination Double jeopardy 2.

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Conviction Acquittal Not proven 3 Directed verdict. Capital punishment Execution warrant.

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  7. Imprisonment Life imprisonment Indefinite imprisonment. Criminal defenses Criminal law Evidence Civil procedure. Law Criminal justice. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. February Blackstone's formulation Due process Habeas corpus Null hypothesis Presumption of guilt Rebuttable presumption Right to a fair trial Right to silence Trial by media Presumption of supply in New Zealand. Retrieved The Digest of Justinian.

    Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Damascus: Holy Koran Pub. Should a child or young person come into conflict with the law, Section 44 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act could offer pre-charge protection for them as minors, but it has never been enacted. The latest consideration of this issue was during debates in the House of Lords in July and October It was decided that the aims of Section 44 could be achieved by protections from media regulatory bodies.

    This failure is now exposing a young year-old child.

    Sexual assault cases: Guilty until proven innocent? - BBC News

    Private details about him were published in print media, online and by other individuals on social media, after he was questioned by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in respect of the alleged TalkTalk hacking incident. This alleged hacking has been described as one of the largest and most public contemporary incidents of cybercrime in the UK. But despite injunctions being issued, internet searches are still revealing details about the identity of the year-old.

    This issue has arisen in a range of high profile cases where children and young people have been accused of involvement in crime.

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    One example is the murder of Ann Maguire, a teacher in Leeds who was murdered in When the incident was first reported, many of the newspapers published various details about the accused year-old, including information about where he lived and his family upbringing. Allowing the media free rein to name a child before they are charged can later prejudice the fairness of their trial if it proceeds to court. This is what occurred in the case of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, two ten-year-old boys who were convicted of the murder of a two-year-old. Their lawyers claimed that media reporting had undermined the chances of a fair trial and this had breached their rights.

    The European Court of Human Rights in its judgment in ruled that the boys did not receive a fair trial. While the Northern Ireland judiciary states that there is protection through media regulatory guidelines , my research demonstrates that the revised IPSO Code of Practice — which came into force in January — fails to provide crucial advice to journalists on the use of social media and online content.

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    This form of publishing details is a form of naming and shaming, which can encourage or stir up anger, resentment and retaliation in communities. Children who are already vulnerable are placed at further risk. Research I have conducted over the past ten years clearly demonstrates the significance of negative media representations on children and young people, and their manifestation in punishment attacks, beatings and exiling from their communities. Addressing this loophole in the legislation is one step that is urgently required because media regulatory bodies currently lack clarity and suitable ethical guidelines on this issue.

    The gap within the criminal justice legislative framework needs to urgently be addressed.