State Trials, Political and Social

Volume 1

Author: Various Authors
Published: 1899
Language: English
Wordcount: 76,252 / 217 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 53.7
LoC Category: D
Downloads: 450
Added to site: 2008.12.14
mnybks.net#: 22872
Genre: History
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Excerpt

w, was thus held to be implicitly repealed. The rule as to the two witnesses seems to have been construed as referring to trial by witnesses as it existed under the civil law, which was taken to require two eye- or ear-witnesses to the actual fact constituting the crime. With such a trial, trial by jury was frequently contrasted, and if the rigour of the civil law was not to be insisted on, the only alternative seemed to be that the jury should form their opinion as they could, if not from their own knowledge, then from any materials that might be laid before them. This naturally did away with any rules of evidence as we understand them, and consequently Cobham's confession became as good evidence as the jury could expect to have. In fact, as Sir James Stephen says, 'The only rules of evidence as to matters of fact recognised in the sixteenth century seem to have been the clumsy rules of the mediæval civil law, which were supposed to be based on the Bible. If they were set aside, the jury were absolute,

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