Trials & Hearings

It is the function of the judiciary to determine whether or not the accused is guilty, and if he is, to give him an appropriate punishment. Not all accused are guilty, which is why a trial is essential to stop innocent men and women from being thrown into prison. If a person was sentenced wrongly to prison, no amount of money and apologies can make up for the years that he/she has spent rotting in prison.

A trial differs from a hearing in terms of length and formality. A trial is generally longer and is conducted in a more formal manner in comparison to a hearing. If classified on basis of the finder of fact, a trial can either be a bench trial or a jury trial. On the basis of the case that needs to be resolved, trials can be classified into criminal trials, civil trials and administrative trials. In most trials both the accused and the defendant are allowed to hire lawyers to plead their case. The judge takes all evidence and witnesses presented before coming to a decision. The judge must be completely neutral at the beginning of the case, and must give both parties an equal opportunity to prove themselves right.

History has been witness to many trials, right from that of the great philosopher Socrates ( 399 B.C.) to the impeachment trial of American president Bill Clinton (1999). Over the years, various influential figures, including scientists, criminals and sports players have had trials of their own.

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