03 May 2009

Prejudicial vs Probative

In R v Sang [1979] UKHL 3, Lord Diplock explained that,

"A fair trial according to law involves, in the case of a trial upon indictment, that it should take place before a judge and a jury; that the case against the accused should be proved to the satisfaction of the jury beyond all reasonable doubt upon evidence that is admissible in law; and, as a corrollary to this, that there should be excluded from the jury information about the accused which is likely to have an influence on their minds prejudicial to the accused which is out of proportion to the true probative value of admissible evidence conveying that information."

The Times reports that, "Man who caused death of Baby P guilty of raping two-year-old girl"

The story says, "Almost the entire case rested on the child’s video evidence and her cross-examination, as there was no strong forensic or medical evidence to support the charge."

What was the probative value of the evidence given by the child? Did it really tend to seek the truth?

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