Criminal Process 3 - Role Of The Media

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  • 1. Allowing such evidence increases the chance of miscarriages of justice, and goes against the presumption of innocence. Juries may not focus on the evidence in question but make a decision on the previous convictions alone – is this a fair trial? 2. The answer will depend on students own opinions but a discussion of miscarriages of justice should take place and the need for a corroboration rule3.Again the answer is dependant on students own opinions, but discussion of R v Clark ( 2003) – cot death case, will aid the discussion


  • 1. Criminal Process 3
  • 2. To look at the criticisms of the criminal justice system and process
    To look at the reforms of the criminal justice system and process
    To start to consider the role of the Criminal Prosecution Service
    Today’s lesson
  • 3. 1. (a) Should evidence of bad character and previous convictions be admitted?
    (b) What are the arguments for and against the allowing of such evidence?
    2. Should confession evidence alone be sufficient to secure a conviction?
    3. Should so much weight be placed on the evidence of expert witnesses?
  • 4. Role of the Media
  • 5. Role of the Media
    Murder suspect Amanda Knox's parents claim
    she was beaten by police
    Foxy Knoxy is 'not Amanda the Ripper',
    Meredith Kercher murder trial told
    'I'm innocent', says Foxy Knoxy in court outburst
    after Meredith's friends claim she was emotionless after murder
  • 6. Racism and the CPS
    A report prepared by the Crown Prosecution Inspectorate in 2003 has criticised the CPS for failing to weed out weak cases against ethnic minorities.
    Acquittal rates for black and Asian defendants = 42%, compared to white = 30%
    “The CPS would appear to be discriminating against ethnic minority defendants by failing to correct the bias (of police) and allowing a disproportionate number of weak cases against ethnic minority defendants to go to trial.”
    Reforms and Criticisms
  • 7. Racism and the courts
    Research was undertaken in 2003 by Roger Hood, called Ethnic Minorities in the Criminal Courts: perceptions of fairness and equality of treatment.
    The research found that, over recent years, members of the ethnic minorities were increasingly satisfied that the criminal courts were racially impartial.
    There still remains a significant number of defendants who consider that they have been treated unfairly.
    1 in 5 black defendants, 1 in 8 Asian defendants.
    Sentencing is perceived to be higher then that of white defendants.
    Reforms and Criticisms
  • 8. The Crown Prosecution Service
    The CPS had a reputation for incompetence and delay.
    In 1996 a MORI poll found that 70% of CPS lawyers considered that the CPS was either below average or one of the worst places to work.
    Relations between the police and the CPS have not been good.
    Some problems still remain.
    Read pg 427 for more details.
    Reforms and Criticisms
  • 9. Disclosure
    New rules allow considerable discretion to the prosecution to decide what should be disclosed to the defence solicitor.
    They do not have to disclose until after the defendants plea.
    Reforms and Criticisms
  • 10. Cracked and ineffective trials
    Cracked trials occur when a case is concluded without a trial, usually because the defendant has pleaded guilty at a very late stage.
    Ineffective trial happens when a hearing is cancelled on the day it was due to go ahead.
    The CPS is responsible for 20% of all ineffective trials in the magistrates court.
    Read pg 428-9
    Reforms and Criticisms
  • 11. Victims and witnesses
    In 2003, more than 5% of Crown Court cases did not go ahead on the first day because a witness failed to turn up.
    22% of Crown Court cases and more than a ¼ of magistrates’ court cases that collapsed did so because a prosecution witness failed to come to court.
    Victims have repeatedly complained about the lack of information they received from the criminal justice system about the progress of their case.
    The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme provides limited financial compensation to the victims of some forms of crimes.
    Read pg 432
    Reforms and Criticisms
  • 12. Additional criticisms to consider:
    • The role of the media and public opinion
    • 13. Expert Witnesses
    • 14. Rethinking the criminal justice system
    • 15. In 2006 the Prime Minister announced there needed to be a radical rethink of the criminal justice system.
    Reforms and Criticisms