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Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800–1865$
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David J. A. Cairns

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262848.001.0001

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The Adversarial Criminal Trial

The Adversarial Criminal Trial

Chapter:
(p.163) 7 The Adversarial Criminal Trial
Source:
Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800–1865
Author(s):

David J. A. Cairns

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262848.003.0007

The adversarial criminal trial is seen to come of age in Palmer. Twenty years after the Prisoners' Counsel Act this trial, one of the great criminal trials in the history of English law, triumphantly realised the expectations of full defence by counsel. A case of labyrinthine facts, involving a mass of circumstantial evidence, the conflicting recollections of dozens of witnesses, and questions of bewildering medical and toxicological perplexity, was reduced by the prosecution and the defence to coherent alternative versions of events to be then presented and tested in examination and cross-examination. The speeches of counsel introduced the alternative interpretations of the evidence, explained their logic, urged their credibility, and uncovered the weaknesses of their adversary's interpretation.

Keywords:   adversarial criminal trial, English law, full defence, prosecution, counsel, criminal procedure

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