The Complexities of Defence Inequality
This chapter considers the effect on the form and implementation of the Act of fears of the abuse of advocacy which, it was argued, might impede the investigation of truth and undermine the authority of judge and jury. Defence access to the depositions was likely to aggravate these dangers by arming counsel with foreknowledge of the prosecution case and a documentary basis for the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses. The initially distinct proposals relating to defence by counsel and the depositions thus became linked by a fear of the power of advocacy. This fear did not defeat either proposal, but explains the deletion by the House of Lords of a clause in the Act guaranteeing the prisoner's counsel the last word to the jury, and important restrictions in the 1837 Memorandum on the use of the depositions by defence counsel.
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