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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The proof of the pudding: the presentation and proof of expert evidence in South Africa
Author:Meintjes-Van der Walt, LiriekaISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Law
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/30038549
Abstract:As complex technical and scientific evidence continue to increase and evolve, courts and judicial decisionmakers will increasingly be challenged to use such potentially powerful evidence in the conviction of the guilty and the exoneration of the innocent. In this challenge lie the paradoxes and dilemmas encountered as science meets law in the courtroom. Expert evidence is usually sought because the expert by definition possesses knowledge, skill or expertise that the trier of fact lacks. The function of the expert is not to decide the matter in issue, but to assist the tribunal in considering issues that are beyond the knowledge of the tribunal. At the same time, precisely because the expert's knowledge is beyond the knowledge of the tribunal, it (the tribunal) is in a weak position to evaluate whether the expert evidence is genuine, valid or helpful. Conventional methods of evaluating evidence may fail to meet the challenges posed by expert evidence. This article investigates how South Africa's legal system, which is Anglo-American in tradition, deals with the problems of adversarial presentation and the evaluation of expert evidence in criminal justice matters. The article not only discusses the paradoxes and problems of expert evidence, but also gives consideration to guidelines which could assist in decisionmaking based on expert evidence. Notes, ref., sum. (p. II) [Journal abstract]