By Victor Kaicombey.
“Lack of evidence of harm is not evidence of lack of harm”.
It is your legal rights to be “presumed Innocent until proven guilty”. The age-old legal principle, a legal norm that rest on the onus of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Many people are yet to take advantage of this principle in defence of their rights.
Consult your legal warrior and pursue your cause, that you may have all the chances to overcome the battle. Likely a shift from been ignorant to be well informed. Always seek advice from your Legal Aid before you say or do anything. Recognizing the burden of proof seems a fairly straightforward in respect and protection of your human rights, inalienable or natural rights.
Let’s take a look at the criminal justice system as the paradigm case. This is viewed by two ways by which a miscarriage of justice can come about. Either the suspect did not commit the crime, but the verdict found him guilty; or the suspect did commit the crime, but the verdict found him not guilty.
In a civilized system of justice, the risks of the first type of error are minimized as far as possible. These underscore the importance of the adage legal principle “innocent until proven guilty." The system contains safeguards and precautions in the form of high standards of proof so as to ensure that a suspect will be condemned for a certain criminal offense only if it has been established "beyond reasonable doubt" that he / she in fact committed the alleged offense.
We may try to reduce the risk of condemning an innocent person by demanding ever more exacting standards of proof but only at the expense of increasing the risk of acquitting culpable offenders. Are we realizing this type of system within our criminal justice system in Sierra Leone? Therefore, we must recognize that there is an inevitable trade-off involved in the design of our system of criminal justice. We may attempt to set our standards as high as we can, but somewhere a balance must be struck, lest the system will become unworkable by making it too difficult to pass sentence on the majority of wrongful offenders. Corruption in the legal system is a big weapon that dent the realization of criminal justice system by which justice is not given to the poor or the underprivileged in developing countries, my country is not in exception. How do we confront these challenges in our societies?
“Lack of evidence of harm is not evidence of lack of harm”. If we are really concerned about such legal misconduct, we can put in additional investigative effort to learn more about their plausibility or likelihood. It would be absurd to halt our inquiries / investigation with an appeal...
At the other side of the coin, should our inquiries / criminal investigations be halt with an appeal? Why or why not? How do we relate with this appears to be an invitation for your comments.
Stay connected for my next article “Legal Bit”.