Introduction to Rules of Evidence (Zimbabwe)
The defence lawyer must be fully conversant with the rules of evidence. Most criminal cases turn on the facts and the inferences to be drawn from those facts, rather than on points of law. The facts are therefore of key importance. The rules of evidence are also of primary importance as they lay down such things as which facts may be admitted, which persons are competent to give testimony, how the facts may be proved, when affidavit evidence may be introduced, when confessions are admissible and so on.
What follows in this section is a summary of the main rules of evidence which may be of assistance when a lawyer is defending clients in criminal cases. These rules are first described from the standpoint of how they are applied by the courts. They are then examined from the perspective of how they can be used in favour of persons charged with various crimes.