Legal Essay

To what extent does the criminal investigation process balance the rights of victims, suspects and society?
The criminal investigation process is a complex aspect of the legal system that aims to gather evidence lawfully, justly and in accordance with the rights of victims, suspects and society. The police play a critical role in the criminal investigation process in preventing crime by maintaining a public presence, acting as a deterrent and assisting in the prosecution of those charged with offences. Their powers, derived from Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, ensure regard is given to the rights of victims, suspects and society in during the detaining, searching and determining bail of suspects. These responsibilities involve maintaining the ‘presumption for bail’ and ‘presumption for innocence’ of suspects, ensuring members of the community are able to report crimes freely and are not subjected to unjust actions of law enforcement powers and, justice is achieved for the victim. Although the criminal investigation process is successful in deterring crime and decreasing criminal acts, it have been criticised for allowing law enforcement too much ‘power’ and thus, does not meet social standards in regards to the victim, offender and society. The extent to which the criminal investigation process balances the rights of victims, suspects, and society will be evaluated in this essay.

Firstly, the implementation of Police Powers (Drug Detection Dogs) Act 2001, has demonstrated the limitations of the criminal investigation process when balancing the rights of the suspect, victim and society. The legislation enables police to use ‘sniffer dogs’ to detect illegal drugs. The legislation has been responsible for prosecuting many drug-related offences. In the case of Darby v DPP 2004, Darby was acquitted of drug possession after it was found that the sniffer dog committed an illegal search by coming into contact with Darby’s genitals. Thus,...