The Presumption of Innocence in Irish Criminal Law: Recent Trends and Possible Explanations

Dr. C. Hamilton

The existence of four contemporary threats to the presumption of innocence in
England and Wales has been posited by Ashworth. The aim of this article is to
take stock of the law in the Republic of Ireland impacting upon this cornerstone
principle of Irish criminal law. The article explores Ashworth’s arguments in
more detail and examines the justifications for the presumption of innocence
generally and in an Irish context. Case law and legislation which may have
impacted on its scope and practical import for the accused are considered prior to
somewhat mixed conclusions being drawn about the relative health of the
presumption in Ireland. The final part of the article briefly examines some
arguments which have been advanced for contemporary developments in the
field of due process protections.

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