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What is co-conspirator rule? To be able to tackle this question, it is vital to understand what conspiring is.  When an individual or entity works in unison with another against another individual or entity, with the aim of achieving their own vested interests; which are mainly illegal, this is defined as conspiring. Conspiring is punishable by law especially if it’s geared towards doing an illegal activity. Hence co-conspirator rule is defined as a legal rule that governs the admissibility or dismiss ability of statements made by an alleged co-conspirator against a defendant. The rule dictates that statements made by an alleged co-conspirator against a defendant are credible and admissible if and only if made during the furtherance or progress of the conspiracy. Therefore it is only necessary for two considerations to be made when dealing with such cases: Whether or not the statement was made when the conspiracy was still in existence and whether the statement was made while the conspiracy was in advancement of the conspiracy.

Once a court is presented with a situation in which a conspiracy is evident, there are two ways of dealing with it. One way is letting the judge determine if indeed the conspiracy existed. Another way of handling it is leaving it upon the jury to determine whether or not conspiracy is evident. Determining whether the hearsay statement itself should be considered on the preliminary issue of whether a conspiracy existed had been quite an issue for cases related to conspiracy. However, in 1997 the Supreme Court revised the rule stating that the court could consider the hearsay statement in determining the existence of the conspiracy.

 An out of court statement made by another individual other than that made by the declarant while testifying in court is defined as hearsay. In simpler terms, it is a statement repeated by someone else other than the individual who originally said it. In most cases hearsay is not admissible in court. However, in some cases for instance those concerning conspiracy, hearsay may be used considered as evidence in a testimony. Understanding what hearsay is rather significant in tackling the question: What hearsay exceptions are most relevant in child sexual abuse cases? Child sexual abuse cases being very delicate and children also being very delicate leaves room for hearsay exceptions. Children are usually not that competent in being witnesses.

This is so due to the fact that children may be unwilling to give evidence due to trauma involved. unsatisfactory information due to unfamiliarity of the courtroom setting and procedure, difficulty in recalling events due to limitations in memory, mental and intellectual capacity. Due to these reasons, the Victorian Law Reform Commission recommended that a hearsay exception be enacted for evidence to prove facts in criminal cases involving child sexual assault allegations. These exceptions are made to deal with scenario that makes it hard for the original witness to testify. For instance, a child who has been sexually abused may find it difficult or rather impossible for them to give a detailed account of the sexual acts experienced. Also, children who have been sexually abused are quite variable in their emotional response. As a result, such children will tend to take such an incident as a normal day’s activity, hence, showing slight or no traumatic response.

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