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Characteristics Of Common Law Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

1.Rule of LawThe rule of law, upheld by an independent judiciary, is one of Hong Kong’s greatest strengths. This refers to some of the fundamental principles of law that govern the way in which power is exercised in Hong Kong.The rule of law has several different meanings and corollaries. Its principal meaning is that the power of the Government and all of its servants shall be derived from law as expressed in legislation and the judicial decisions made by independent courts.At the heart of Hong Kong's system of government lies the principle that no one, including the Chief Executive, can do an act which would otherwise constitute a legal wrong or affect a person's liberty unless he can ...view middle of the document...

(Entry can only be obtained against the will of the owner by due process of law).3. A man cannot be convicted twice for the same offence - once he has stood trial. This applies when the offence is under the same statute. (C.C. sec. 12 & Charter s. 11(h)).4. A person under twelve years of age cannot be prosecuted. (C.C. sec. 13).5. A man can only be charged and convicted with a crime known to law. (sec. 9 of the C.C. - exception is the charge of contempt of court).6. A man can only be punished after conviction, and then only within the limits authorized by law. (C.C. sec. 6).7. A man is entitled to be tried by his peers. In Canadian law, this is only true for certain indictable offences for which the C.C. so provides.8. The accused must be given the benefit of a reasonable doubt. Therefore, circumstantial evidence must be overwhelming.9. The Crown must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.10. No charge can be laid against a person for a common law offence - except for contempt of court. See sec. 9 of the C.C.11. A person can only be arrested by due authority of the law. (C.C.sec. 494-495).12. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse (C.C. sec. 19). However, in some cases there may be exceptions - see main text.13. The accused is entitled to make a full answer in defence of a charge. In other words, a person cannot be tried while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and an insane person cannot be tried - see main text.14. The accused is entitled to have counsel without delay and to be informed of the right. (Charter of Rights and Freedoms - sec. 10b).15. The accused cannot be compelled to incriminate him or her. (Charter sec. 11(c)).16. Generally speaking the accused's character or general reputation is not at stake. Exceptions are if such information is essential to the crime such as with Clifford Olson and Paul Bernardo.17. With the exception of a few crimes, neither the husband nor wife is compellable witnesses for the prosecution. (see Canada Evidence Act, sec. 4(2), 4(4) and 4(5) for exceptions.)18. Corroboration is required by law in certain cases.19. In most crimes, guilty mind (mens rea) has to be established.20. In some cases compulsion...

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