Cardinal Principles Essay

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Evaluate the effectiveness of the ‘cardinal principles’ enunciated by Prof. Ian Dennis vis-à-vis reversal of burden onto the defendant in criminal cases. To what extend does it achieve it’s purpose?
In Woolmington v DPP, Viscount Sankey LC laid down the golden thread rule (also known as concept of presumption of innocence) which presumed the defendant is innocence until proven guilty by the prosecution by proposed “Throughout the web of the English criminal law, one golden thread is always be seen, that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt…” The prosecution bears the legal burden to prove the guilt of defendant beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases whereby the defendant bears the evidential burden
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The example of express statutory reversal is s2(2) of the Homicide Act 1957 (HA 1957) which stated: ‘On a charge of murder, it shall be for the defence to prove that the person charged is by virtue of this section not liable to be convicted of murder.’ Besides, the effect of implied statutory reversal can be seen in R v Turner where the court held that it was for the defendant to prove that he had been granted a licence to sell sugar. Although Viscount Sankey created the exceptions for the general rule, the Criminal Law Revision Committee was strongly in opinion that the defendant should bear the evidential burden only as refer to their 11th Report of the Criminal Law Revision Committee Evidence in…show more content…
These 6 cardinal principles are: (i) Judicial Deference; (ii) Classification of offences; (iii) construction of criminal liability: element of offences and defences; (iv) Significance of maximum penalties; (v) ease of proof and peculiar knowledge; and (vi) presumption of innocence. Each of the principles influences the courts on examining the reversal burden differently.

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