Evidence Under Criminal Law
In criminal and civil proceedings, the law of evidence has many purposes.
However, due to the different nature of civil and criminal cases, the rules
applicable to them may be different. The civil case is one established by the
individual to seek redress for wrongdoing, which has been done against him, and
if he succeeds he will be given money or other personal relief. At the same
time, a penalty case is being pursued by the government to safeguard its
compliance with its laws by punishing or amending the law.
Therefore, since the scope of relief and the establishment of civil and criminal
cases are different, it seems appropriate to have a strict ness-related
distinction of clear rules applicable to both cases.
Generally, the purpose of the express rule is to assist the court in
establishing the truth between the parties' conflicting versions of the case.
However, the law of evidence in criminal cases has a more important purpose,
namely, the protection afforded to the accused concerning his right to a fair
trial. The defense of the accused against the case, impartial to his right to a
distant trade, is one of the main reasons why the Law of Criminal Evidence
contains many provisions, excluding the relevant evidence to be presented before
For example, the general rule that the defendant's misconduct or the evidence of
his previous allegations are not admissible at trial, such as the various
privileges granted to witnesses, etc. The court may exercise its discretionary
power to uphold the defendant's right to a fair trial.
When in civil proceedings, relevant and probable evidence is generally
admissible for a fact to be proved to the court. There are no mandatory
provisions to exclude testimony in civil cases. This issue reflects the main
difference between civil and criminal proceedings. Therefore, we can say that
fair trial arrangement is not important in a civil case because there is greater
equality in the resources between the parties rather than criminal proceedings,
on the one hand, there is a whole government of power and weak criminals on the
Moreover, if a civil case is lost, the claimant or defendant will suffer serious
damages to his financial resources or property, he will not lose his free life
or suffer the same social stigma of a person convicted of a criminal offense.
This is one of the reasons for the huge difference in the level of coercion
required in civil and criminal cases.
Burden of proof in criminal and civil proceedings
The general rule in criminal cases is that the State imposes the burden of
proving the defendant's guilt and defines the substantive law as to what the
prosecution must prove in order to convict the defendant. It usually contains
elements of mens rea and actus reas, for example, when pursuing a penalty for
theft, the state must prove all elements of the offense classified by the
Although the rules of civil testimony do not incorporate the same engaging
principles in criminal litigation, the "well-established public rule on the
legal burden of proof" in civil proceedings must be asserted by the
plaintiff. The legal burden of proving a fact at trial is on the affirming
party, so in civil litigation, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, however,
if the defendant admits the allegations and makes a positive error such as a
"counter-claim", the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. The burden always
lies on the defendant.
In civil proceedings, if a party formally acknowledges the facts of a case, it
ceases to be in dispute between the particles of the facts, and any evidence
that proves the truth is irrelevant to the adjudication. In other words,
judicial admissions in civil cases are final. Courts are obliged to make rulings
based on such consent without producing additional evidence. Judicial admission
in criminal cases is not final.
Of course, when the perpetrator confesses every element of the alleged offense
without reservation, the court may enter the guilty plea and immediately convict
the accused. However, the court may demand that such evidence be prosecuted
because it deems it necessary and the perpetrator may be allowed to call the
witnesses. Unlike civil cases, the task of determining the determinants of
judicial admission in criminal cases is left to the discretion of the court.
Judicial admissions are not conclusive in criminal cases
In criminal cases, the issue may be the question of life and death. So the
court shall take a due care that an innocent person not to be convicted and
punished. So that, the courts are expected to critically examine the reasons
behind of the confession. Because sometimes innocent person may admit the
commission of crime to cover another person, for fame or to be known throughout
the world by his criminal act.
in criminal cases, admission shall be made without reservation. When we say the
accused admitted, we are saying that he admitted each and every criminal
elements of the alleged offence usually comprise elements of the mens rea and
actus reus . However, in civil proceedings the party may admit the truth of the
whole or any part of the case of the other party. For instance, the plaintiff
has instituted suit against the defendant on breach of contract for the value of
10,000 birr. Here, the defendant may admit half of the plaintiffs claim and deny
Classification of Evidence
Evidence of whether or not controversial facts exist can lead directly or
indirectly to the required conclusion. Thus, the evidence is divided into two:
direct and circumstantial.
If believed, direct evidence directly establishes a fact at issue. The fact at
issue is that one party accuses the other, that the other party denies that this
is a controversial fact, which can only be resolved with the help of evidence.
Direct evidence is provided by witnesses giving oral testimony of something they
felt was their own. It is also provided with the documents, photographs & the
like that the judge needs to interpret with his or her intelligence, and the
testimony box includes the witness's physical presence, assessing by the judge
of the witness's credibility. This includes admission to an indictment by a
party in the case.
However, circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence that tends to establish a
conclusion by inference. It does not directly tell you or prove the existence or
absence of alleged or controversial truth. But when you put them together, they
form a chain that leads to a logical conclusion. For this reason, criminal cases
structured on the basis of circumstantial evidence are very difficult to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt.
Situational evidence is needed for the judge to draw generalizations from
commonly held assumptions about human nature. For example, in a murder case, the
evidence that a defendant lied to the police about the time involved and the
violent dispute with the victim a few days before the murder would be the
relevant circumstantial evidence for the accused's guilt. This assumption is
based on the general assumption that murderers usually have a motive for murder
and generally cover their tracks by lying.
Can a wrong inference be made from circumstances?
Since most crimes are executed in a very sophisticated manner, direct evidence
is difficult to obtain. In that case, we have the option of proving the
controversial fact by circumstantial evidence. However, such scenarios are
likely to make false assumptions. For example, in a murder case, if you only
consider footprints, it could be someone's footsteps from the victim's home. And
that does not mean that anyone buying a piston or knife has the intention of
killing a person.
Therefore, circumstances must be taken as a whole and not isolated from one
another. Where facts merge, they lead to a certain logical conclusion. The
circumstances should not be self-contradictory, which is consistent with the
innocence of the accused, while others are consistent with his or her guilt. If
they contradict, the ability to prove decreases with an increase in the odds.
That is why; We have said that the court should be careful when rendering a
verdict based on circumstantial evidence.
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