Category Archives: Asia

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Singapore Court of Appeal’s observations on witness body language

This post is slightly late but relates to an interesting development in Singapore. In May 2014, the Singapore Court of Appeal issued interesting observations about witness body language (here). While those observations were made in the context of a civil case, they will be particularly relevant for criminal cases. Citing scientific studies on how nervousness is often misinterpreted as deceitfulness, the court held: “Put simply, therefore, the demeanour of a witness on the witness stand is not invariably a conclusive indicator of deception. “

An insightful media report on this by Andy Ho may be found here.

 

China’s Top Prosecutor Vows to Fight to Prevent Wrongful Convictions…

From the ShanghaiDaily.com:

BEIJING, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) — China’s top prosecutor has pledged efforts to prevent miscarriage of justice following the high-profile acquittal of a man previously convicted of murder.

Procurator-General Cao Jianming called on judicial workers to reflect on problems that persist in the judicial system, despite attention and measures to address them, according to an article in the Thursday edition of the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

Last month, a court in east China’s Fujian Province acquitted Nian Bin, a man imprisoned for murder, citing insufficient evidence.

Nian had been convicted and sentenced to death in 2008 by a court that found him guilty of poisoning four people, causing two deaths.

His acquittal in the case raised public outcry for stricter implementation of rules to protect defendants in the face of doubt or insufficient evidence.

Some judicial workers have misconceptions about law enforcement, which have resulted in the presumption of guilt in their work, Cao said at a recent commencement ceremony of the National Prosecutors College.

In some cases, defendants were not given the benefit of the doubt, and some prosecutors have relied excessively on confessions and testimony rather than factual evidence, he said.

Some procuratorial workers haven’t paid proper attention to protecting defendants’ rights and due process when enforcing the law, according to the top prosecutor.

Cao called on the country’s procuratorial workers to adhere to professional ethics and the rule of law and prudently practice their duties in supervising criminal procedures.

Cao stressed that unlawfully obtained evidence should be ruled out in accordance with law.

He told law enforcers to resist the temptation of money and interference due to personal relationships.

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