Hearsay and Confrontation in Criminal Trials

By Andrew L.-T. Choo | Go to book overview
Save to active project

7
Reform Options

The focus of this Chapter is upon various possible approaches that might constitute the basis for reform of the hearsay rule in criminal trials in England. In the light of the problems associated with the hearsay rule examined in the preceding chapters, it is clear that substantial revision of the operation of the hearsay rule in England is necessary. Indeed, it may be tempting to argue that the rule should be abolished altogether. Wigmore considered that, if the rule were to be abolished, we would probably attain a clearer picture of events and get just as close to the truth.1 Even at present, the hearsay quality of a good deal of evidence goes unnoticed.2 Indeed, at a certain level, there may be a hearsay quality inherent in any testimony. It is arguable that there is no such thing as completely objective perception, since all our perceptions of the real world are dependent to some extent upon what we have been told by others. If, for example, I testify that the car I saw driving away from the scene of the crime was red, is not what I am saying dependent upon what my parents taught me about colour? The concepts of true 'first-hand knowledge' and of testimony about 'objective facts' or 'objective reality' may simply be myths.3

One consequence of the substantial abolition (or the substantial relaxation) of the hearsay rule, however, is that the amount of evidence able to be adduced by the prosecution (the party which already enjoys the balance of advantage owing to the resources available to it) would be increased.4 In jurisdictions such as Canada and Australia, where the hearsay rule in criminal trials has been relaxed judicially, this relaxation has

____________________
1
J. H. Wigmore (rev. J. H. Chadbourn), Evidence in Trials at Common Law (Vol. 5) ( 1974), 259.
2
E. M. Morgan, "'Hearsay and Non-Hearsay'" ( 1935) 48 Harvard Law Review1138, 1145.
3
See generally G. M. Fenner, "'Law Professor Reveals Shocking Truth about Hearsay'" ( 1993) 62 UMKC Law Review1, 21-6; M. Morton, "'The Hearsay Rule and Epistemological Suicide'" ( 1986) 74 Georgetown Law Journal1301.
4
See generally R. C. Park, "'The Hearsay Rule and the Stability of Verdicts: A Response to Professor Nesson'" ( 1986) 70 Minnesota Law Review1057, 1060; R. C. Park, "'A Subject Matter Approach to Hearsay Reform'" ( 1987) 86 Michigan Law Review51, 94-7; M. S. Raeder , "'The Effect of the Catchalls on Criminal Defendants: Little Red Riding Hood Meets the Hearsay Wolf and is Devoured'" ( 1992) 25 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review925, 940; R. O. Lempert and S. A. Saltzburg, A Modern Approach to Evidence: Text, Problems, Transcripts and Cases ( 2nd edn., 1982), 521-2.

-163-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Hearsay and Confrontation in Criminal Trials
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 244

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?