A critical analysis of the use of circumstantial evidence by the Zambian judicial system

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Mwiinga, Betty
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University of Zambia
Circumstantial evidence is a type of evidence that is indirect and is mostly drawn from inferences that the judges will draw from the facts of the case. This type of evidence is important and powerful because it comes from multiple sources that check and reinforce each other and that acts as surety on the evidence. Hence, it is important that this type of evidence is well examined to avoid prosecuting innocent people due to uncorroborated evidence drawn from inferences. The state has a duty to protect the lives and security of the people and this is done through enactment of proper rules that must be followed by the courts in their application of the laws to the facts brought before the courts. Therefore, the courts are under a duty to ensure that all the inferences are proven beyond a reasonable doubt so that in the end only one inference suffices and that will determine the judgement of the case.The main focus of the research is on the Zambian judicial system and how it has applied the rules of circumstantial evidence through a synopsis of case law as well as the case that inspired the research which is the Kakumba case. The research also looks at other jurisdictions; South Africa and English law in particular to see how circumstantial evidence has been applied over the years till date.The aim of the research is to enlighten the Zambian judicial system on how indirect evidence should be used to avoid wrong convictions of innocent people. And the findings according to the research are that in Zambia, the rules of circumstantial evidence are not applied as expected as there are cases where innocent people were convicted for crimes they did not commit. An example is the case of MbomenaMoola v The People, were an accused was convicted even when there was more than one inference drawn from the facts.For the completion of this research, secondary data as well desktop research. Therefore, the sources of the information include the internet, library, journals, articles, books and lastly, case law was also consulted.Lastly, the researcher having critically analysed the Zambian judicial system through use of the above sources, came up with a few recommendations that would assist the judicial system apply circumstantial evidence better in future cases to avoid wrong convictions. Some of these recommendations include; the government educating more pathologists in the country to help examine medical evidence which would be helpful to the courts. The other recommendation is that with the government’s financial resources, effective and adequate measures can be put in place to develop and establish a forensic science department that will examine the different types of evidence such as DNA and finger prints.
Student Project Report
Justice, administration of Zambia , Court administration--Zambia