Corroboration rules in the law of evidence - should the caribbean jurisdictions continue to hold on to them?

AuthorAndy Darkob
PositionLL.B. (Hons.), LL.M., Barrister; Lecturer, Cayman islands Law School
Pages501-514
CO RR OB OR AT ION RULE S IN THE LAW OF E VID ENCE -
SHOU LD TH E C AR IBBEA N JUR ISD ICT IONS C ON TIN UE
TO HO LD ON TO THEM?
An dy Darkob*
Introd uction
In my previous articles in t he Caribbean Law R evie w1 an d The
Law yer, I argue for child witness es to be pr esum ed com petent to
tes tif y, the reby rem oving any test o f com petency cond ucte d by a
jud ge, before receiving the child w itness’s testimony. If, in the course
of any such te stimo ny, it become s obvious that the child witness is
not mak ing sense, the ju dg e may exercise his com mo n law p ower
(applicable in relation to all witnesses) to stop the child witness or ask
the ju ry to disregard t he evidence.
In child abus e cases, it is oner ous eno ugh for th e p rosecu tion to
striv e for corroboration evidence to supp ort t he evidenc e o f the
com pla inant. The burden becom es almost impossible w hen
corro boration is req uired for the m ere fact th at the witn ess is a child,
and the c hild add itio nally h as to g o thr oug h a test o f competency to
show that she has sufficient intelligence to justify h er evidence being
received.
The corro boration rules as inherited in the com mo n law
jurisdiction were created over the centuries in England in cases such
LL.B. (Hons. ), LL.M., Barrister; Lecturer, Cayman i slands Law School.
See An dy Darkoh, "Childrens Evide nce-Making a Case for the A doption of
the En glish Criminal Justice Acts in Caribbean Jurisdictions,” (19 94) 4
Carib . 1. ft 4 48
501

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