Blackburn Critical Essay

| September 26, 2015

“The police at the time had not one jot of evidence against Mr Blackburn and had relied entirely upon Mr Thornthwaite’s hunch as a justification for ‘targeting’ him. The evidence which could connect him with the attacks (or any of them) could come from four sources, namely:
• From a victim or victims or a witness identifying him as the attacker;
• From ‘forensic’ evidence, such as blood, semen, hair, clothing, etcetera, found on the victim or at the scene;
• From the finding on Mr Blackburn or at his premises any of the articles stolen from victims at the time of the crime;
• From proof of admissions made by him to other persons (including police).
Identification evidence is evidence which is treated in our courts with special caution, and the reason for this is that justice has miscarried on a number of occasions when reliance for a conviction has been placed upon identification evidence.” Mr Justice J.A.Lee,
Royal Commissioner, Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the arrest, charging and subsequent withdrawal of charges against Harold James Blackburn and matters associated therewith. June 1990, Section 11 “Observations Upon Identification Evidence”.
In light of the above quote by the Royal Commissioner, critically examine identification evidence gathered by and relied upon by the ‘Blackburn Investigators’ for the charging of Harold Blackburn. Ensure that you comment upon the admissibility and reliability of such evidence both in terms of the law as it stood then (1990) and in terms of how it would be perceived now under the Evidence Act 25/1995

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Category: Criminology

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