An analysis of circumstantial evidence in discharging the burden of proof: A critical review of the Zambian Jurisprudence

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Chabu, Mercy
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This dissertation consists of the law relating to circumstantial evidence in discharging the burden of proof and has sought to criticize the Zambian jurisprudence in that regard. In order to come up with the contents herein I sought help from the institutions themselves such as the police and the courts and the roles of the aforementioned were established. The law enforcement mechanism such as the police and the courts have a big role to play to avoid convicting innocent people and must work hard in ensuring that justice is seen to be done, because in serious crimes such as murder of which the research is about, it is important to ensure that the right people are brought to justice. The paper is further sci/cd with the task of analy/ing circumstantial evidence because owing to the technicalities of the rules relating to circumstantial evidence innocent people arc frequently convicted. The court must therefore ensure that they take extra attention in the evidence that is brought before them before they can convict. The police and the courts must work hand in hand with the courts to establish the truth. It has been stated in this research that convicting someone based on circumstantial evidence alone leads to irreparable damages to the people so convicted because, it is not really established that they committed the offence that they have been charged with, and may face going away to prison for a crime they did not commit. The fact is that circumstantial evidence does not discharge the burden of proof, and since there are no equipments to use to establish the truth in Zambia it is therefore the task of the court to avoid using it to convict a person, especially in murder cases where the punishment is severe and a person may face the death penalty. The research was qualitative and bases on both primary and secondary sources, the former consisted of interviews with the law enforcement officers such as the police and the courts while the latter consisted of the use of books, internet sources and the Constitution of Zambia. In conclusion the study has recommended that with Government's financial assistance adequate and effective measures should be put in place to allow a conviction on circumstantial evidence in Zambia such as is the case in the American and British context as mentioned herein, otherwise until we develop our system to such an extent circumstantial evidence should not be used.
Evidence, Circumstial---Zambia , Res ipa loquitur docrine