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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Prima facie' presumption of guilt in the Cameroonian criminal process
Author:Anyangwe, C.ISNI
Periodical:Annual conference - African Society of International and Comparative Law
Geographic term:Cameroon
Subjects:criminal procedure
Abstract:The law in Cameroon presumes any person accused of an offence to be innocent until proven guilty. This means that in any criminal trial the burden of proving the alleged offence lies on the prosecution. However, a number of factors in the criminal process give the impression of a negation of this principle. First, some statutes expressly cast upon the accused the onus of proving certain facts, presuming him guilty until he proves his innocence. Typical instances of statutory reversals of the burden of proof can be found in the Evidence Ordinance (chapter 62 of the Revised Laws of Nigeria 1958, which continues to be in force in anglophone Cameroon) and in the Penal Code. Secondly, certain negative practices on the part of the police, the State prosecutor, and the judiciary, especially in francophone Cameroon, give the impression of a reversal of the legal burden of proof. These practices include irregular arrests and long periods of detention before trial, and the inquisition-like nature of judicial proceedings. Despite these reversals the ultimate burden of proof remains with the prosecution; what has apparently shifted to the accused is only the evidential burden of proof. Notes, ref.