Dalhousie Law Journal


Alec Samuels


Acquittal of the guilty, injustice, difficulties, adversary system, inefficiencies, ineffectivenesses


Every acquittal is an injustice. Either a guilty man has escaped conviction, or an innocent man has been subjected to false accusation, with all the accompanying worry, anxiety, publicity, humiliation, perhaps detention, probably expense. Some of the difficulties undoubtedly spring from the adversary system, a system evolved in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to meet the then contemporary problems. It is a system with certain inherent inefficiencies and ineffectivenesses, a system designed to ascertain whether the prosecution has proved an allegation against D the defendant beyond all reasonable doubt and not designed to ascertain the truth of the incident in issue. The question is not: What happened? Who did it? The question is: Has it been proved that D did it? Guilty or not guilty?