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COUNCIL FOR LEGAL EDUCATION

EVIDENCE SYLLABUS
(Candidates may have the Civil Evidence Act, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and any other
relevant enactments available when writing the examination)

Objectives:
To put the prospective legal practitioner into a position whereby such practitioner is aware of
the main principles and the rules of admissibility of the law of evidence. To that end any case
authorities are only given as illustrative of the principles involved and most emphasis is placed
on the student's application of principles to problem situations.

1.

Introduction

Definition and the sources of Zimbabwean law.


2.

Relevance and Admissibility

The Best Evidence - Direct and Circumstantial Evidence


3.

The Examination of Witnesses

Oral Evidence - Previous Consistent Statements - Exceptions to the Rule Refreshment of Memory...
Character Evidence
-

Reputation on Disposition
Similar Facts
Striking Similarity in Sexual Cases
The rebuttal of defences
The Accused as a witness
Right to silence
Previous Convictions and their admissibility

Opinion Evidence
-

The value of an opinion

Who is an expert
The rule in Hollington v Hewthorn and its application in Zimbabwe in the
light of what Sec. 31 of the Civil Evidence Act Chapter 8:01 says..

Hearsay
-

Statutory and Common Law sources


Civil and Criminal application
Implied hearsay
The exclusionary rules
declarations by deceased persons
' res fiesta'
public documents
Admissions and confessions
Judges' rules
Public Interest.

4.

The Competence and Compellability of Witnesses

The meaning of competence and compellability, the position of an accused, the spouse of an
accused, the position of a co-accused as a witness for the prosecution or the defence?
5.

Privilege

Types of Privilege and reasons therefore


Matrimonial
Self-incrimination
Legal Professions Privilege
Without prejudice negotiations
Public interest

6.

Corroboration

The need for confirmation


Accomplices
The two hurdles for accomplishment
Singles witness - Cases of Treason and Perjury
Confessions - Police Traps and biased witnesses.

The notion of Vulnerable Witnesses and New Perspectives on Corroboration e.g. young
children and victims of sexual offences - Victim Friendly Courts.

7.

The Burden and Quantum Proof

the evaluation of evidence beyond reasonable doubt or the ' balance of probabilities?.

Recommended Texts
1.
Heydon, Evidence Cases and Materials 2nd Ed. Butterworths
2.
Murphy, A Practical Approach to Evidence 3rd Edition.
3.
Hoffman Et Zeffect, The South African Law of Evidence 6th ed.
4.
Cross on Evidence, 6th ed.
5.
Carter, "Cases and Statutes on Evidence". 5th ed.
6.
S, Jagwanth (editors), Women and the Law (on corrobation) HSRC Publishers,
Pretoria, 1994.