The relevance and admissibility of expert evidence in criminal cases in Zambia

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Chilufya, Borniface
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The study investigated expert evidence, its relevance in criminal cases and its admissibility in the courts of law. The research was carried out amongst the key players in the criminal justice system such as the judicial officers, lawyers and law enforcement agencies such as the Zambia Police Service using questionnaires, interviews and discussions as well as other literature such as books and articles. The study has revealed that expert evidence is very important in criminal proceedings in matters calling for specialized knowledge which are beyond the understanding of the court for both the court and the prosecution. Expert evidence in these matters has been found to assist the courts to make proper decisions. For the prosecution, it has been revealed that expert evidence is important for them to secure convictions of accused persons thereby fighting crime. It has also been revealed that expert evidence is only used by the court if it can assist them to arrive at a proper decision, the decision which the court may not arrive at as it lacks specialized knowledge in a matter before it. In order for law enforcement agencies to secure convictions and thereby fight crime in these cases there is need for officers to be sensitized that every time there is a technical issue or scientific issue before courts, experts specialized in such matters must be called to testify otherwise failure to do so may lead to an accused person be acquitted. Further there is need to provide adequate training to experts of these law enforcement agencies so that they can be able to investigate the cases properly. The state has been urged to provide proper and adequate equipment to assist the law enforcement agencies to fight crime. Experts have also been urged to always provide accurate examination results so that some of the unnecessary acquittals which are being recorded by these agencies can be avoided by producing accurate results.
Evidence, Criminal