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GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBATIVE VALUE OF ADMISSIONS IN CRIMINAL CASES IN TANZANIA

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM ................................. 1 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM. .................................. 2 1.3 LITERATURE VEVIEW. ................................................ 3 1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ............................................. 5 1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY....................................... 6 1.6 HYPOTHESIS ............................................................ 6 1.7 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ........................................ 6 CHAPTER TWO ADMISSION IN CRIMINAL CASES AND THEIR PROBATIVE VALUE 2.1 Introduction.................................................................. 7 2.2 Definition of the term Admission......................................... 8 2.3 Classification of Admissions.............................................. 9 2.4 Condition of Admissions. ................................................. 10 2.5 Persons who can make Admission. ...................................... 11 2.6 To whom Admissions can be made. ...................................... 13 2.7 Admissions Amounting to Confessions .................................. 14 2.4 Conclusion ................................................................... 23 CHAPTER THREE THE PROBTIVE VALUE OF ADMISSIONS 3.1 Introduction ................................................................. 24 3.2 Probative Value defined. ............................ ................... 25 3.3 Probative Value of Admission in Criminal cases. ..................... 26 3.4 Conclusion. ............................................................... 27 CHAPTER FOUR CONCLUSION 4.1 Conclusion..................................................................... 29 BIBLIOGRAPHY GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBATIVE VALUE OF ADMISSIONS IN CRIMINAL CASES IN TANZANIA 1.1. BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM The law of admissions forms part of the Evidence Act, 19671. Under this Act, admissions are statements, oral, written, or inferred from conduct, made by or on behalf of a party to a suit, and admissible in evidence, if relevant, as against his interest2. It is undisputed that in its fact finding mission in civil and criminal cases the court has to look into the relevancy and admissibility of numerous pieces of information. In terms of the Law of Evidence Act, 1967 only facts, which are declared by the Act to be relevant and admissible, may be used by the court in arriving at a decision. The law provides for different kinds of information admissible as evidence and the modality of bringing before the court the said pieces of evidence. The law also provides the burden of proof lying on the respective parties. However, the law does not detail let alone describe the relative strengths of the various pieces of evidence. ...read more.

Middle

The earliest definition of confession was tested in the case of Swami V King Emperor44 where it was said, inter alia, that: "No statement that contains self exculpatory matter can amount to a confession; if the exculpatory statement is of some fact, which if true would negative the offence alleged to be confessed. A confession must admit in terms all the facts which constitute the offence." Under the Evidence Act of Tanzania45 confession is defined to mean: "(a) words or conduct or a combination of both words and conduct form which whether taken alone or in conjunction with other facts proved, an inference may reasonably be drawn that the person who said the words or did the act or acts constituting the conduct has committed an offence or (b) a statement which admits in terms either an offence the person making the statement has committed the offence or (c) a statement containing an admission of all ingredients of the offence with which its make is charged. (d) a statement containing affirmative declarations in which incriminating facts are admitted from which when taken alone or in conjunction with other facts proved, an inference may reasonable be drawn that the person making the statement has committed the offence." According to Mtana46 the above definition is a wider interpretation of the term confession, which is very clear, and that it covers all aspects pertaining to definitional approach for better administration of justice. 2.7.1. Classification of Confessions Like general admissions, confessions also are of two folds; Judicial and Extra Judicial confessions. Confessions are judicial when made by the party before the magistrate or in court in the due course of legal judicial proceedings; it may as well be termed as a plea of guilt. On the other hand, Extra Judicial confession is that statement made by an accused else where other than before the magistrate in court. Whether a confession is Judicial or Extra Judicial it may still in itself be sufficient to warrant a conviction provided it is voluntarily obtained47. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was a treason case. In this case the court used its discretion to hold that some of the confessions statements were voluntary despite the fact that there were allegations of non-adherence of rules of procedures, torture, overdue detention in police custody and inaccessibility of lawyers. Another instance which reduces the evidentiary value of admissions is the admissibility of admissions which are relevant and true but obtained by inducement. Since the purpose of the law is to ensure justice is done, in the author's opinion, it is unjust to consider a true and relevant evidence inadmissible just because it was obtained by inducement. Indeed the decision of the court in the case or R v Bhagi70 defeats the purpose of the law. In this case Beama J. asserted that: "If it appears to the judge that a confession has been improperly induced, no matter how true it may be, he is bound to exclude it." This view was adopted by Tanzanian courts that what is important is not truth or relevancy but voluntariness. If these two elements truth and relevance are neglected for lack of voluntariness then 'criminal justice' is denied. Furthermore, the courts in Tanzania have been dealing with co-accused's confession on the same footing as accomplice evidence. In other words, a co-accused's confession is used as a basis of the prosecution case and not as proof thereof. Other evidence is brought in to corroborate the confession. This practice is not healthy as it reduces the value of admissions by the co-accused. The proper procedure should be to use the co-accused's confessions as evidence corroborating the independent evidence of the prosecution case. We conclude therefore, that, admissions are species of evidence which have high probative value as compared to other types of evidence such as circumstantial evidence, hearsay evidence and even expert opinion. They thus play an important role in the criminal justice and in some cases they may be the only available means of proving guilt. Thus it is important for the court to balance the two by protecting both the public interest as well as the interest of the accused. ...read more.

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