A critical analysis of the corroboration in defilement cases

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Chiyayika, Judith S.
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This research analyses what constitutes corroboration in defilement cases in Zambia. There are many challenges in the Zambian criminal justice systems. These challenges inhibit the efficient and effective delivery of justice. One such challenge is the technicality of corroboration rules in defilement cases. Corroboration is one of the Common Law doctrines that govern the rules of evidence. It is aimed at ensuring that any conviction is based on well-grounded evidence thereby striving to prevent a situation whereby an accused is convicted of a crime they did not do. Cases involving defilement are unique in a number of ways. It is a notorious fact that defilement cases are mostly committed in private. Essentially, the victim who is vulnerable by virtue of her age becomes the only witness. Thus the requirement of the law for a child's testimony to be corroborated has made it difficult to secure convictions in defilement cases. This is because very often such independent evidence tending to confirm the commission of the offence is missing since these offences are committed in secrecy therefore there are rarely witnesses to the event. Further the very nature of the defilement cases makes it difficult for immediate disclosure of these offences. This research is based on a wide range of evidence collected through books, case law and court observations. The research discusses the development of corroboration in Zambia, its rationale in defilement cases and analyses the nature of corroborative evidence needed to secure a conviction in defilement. This research is important as the information that has been gathered would assist all those concerned to understand the nature of corroborative evidence needed to secure a conviction in a defilement case. This research concluded by making recommendations such as reinforced corroboration rules where the use of DNA will be exploited by the investigators. There is need for mass sensitization on the issue of prompt reports so that corroborative evidence is preserved. There is also need for qualified personnel and medical equipment in the clinics so that defilement cases are attended to unlike referring them to University Teaching Hospital.
Child sexual abuse- Zambia , Children- Legal status, laws- Zambia , Sex crimes