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EVIDENTIAL WEIGHT

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...   Grand Master - ,  1:18 pm On 10 Oct 2017

This refers to the importance that the judge or jury attaches to a piece of evidence. It is an abstract science in that there is no physical scale with which a judge or jury can measure whether a piece of evidence is more important than another; so it's more of a question of logic and inference. It also depends on the opinion of a judge or jury as to whether he believes a particular witness or not.

Testimonies and pieces of evidence which are altogether unconnected with a fact in issue carry no weight at all. The closer the connection of a piece of evidence with a fact in issue, the greater the weight it carries.

Also the more reliable the judge or jury thinks a witness testimony is, the greater the weight that will be attached to it. If a judge or judge does not believe a witness or feels that his accounts are untrue or unreliable for numerous contradictions, little or no weight will be accorded to his testimony.

Weight is important because it helps the judge or jury in reaching its verdict. At the end of the trial, the judge of jury would have to weigh the evidence adduced on both sides to determine in whose favour the scale of justice tilts. In criminal matters however, it is not enough that the scale of justice tilts in favour of the prosecution, the prosecution must have proven each element of the offence beyond reasonable doubt.

When determining what weight will be accorded to a piece of evidence, the court would look at the quality of evidence and not its quantity. In other words, the testimony of one or two witnesses may have more weight that the speculations of 20 others.


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