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This module is primarily concerned with different aspects of the right to a fair trial, such as: the right to be tried before an independent and impartial tribunal, the right to test witnesses, and the principle of a `fair balance¿ between the prosecution and defence. There is debate about the boundaries of the right to a fair trial. Should, for example, the prosecution be allowed to use evidence which has been obtained illegally? How do we provide for media freedom to report on crimes and trials whilst protecting the defendant from prejudicial press coverage? Is it acceptable to withhold from the defence the names of prosecution witnesses who are afraid of testifying openly? Is it legitimate to re-prosecute someone who has been acquitted? The module evaluates the law¿s response to such questions, examining domestic law and relevant case law from the European Court of Human Rights.
The emphasis in this module is on the law of criminal evidence. Psychology research will be used to test the assumptions underlying rules and principles of criminal evidence law. The areas of law considered relate primarily to the defendant: identification evidence, bad character, silence during police questioning, and confession evidence.