Miscarriages of justice includes when:

  1. An individual is wrongly accused (and therefore convicted of a crime);
  2. An individual is sent to prison for a crime he or she has not committed;
  3. There has been a prejudicial outcome to a legal proceeding;
  4. The decision of the court is contradictory to the rights of a party.

The reasons for miscarriages of justice vary from case to case, but some general characteristics include the exclusion or fabrication of evidence and a lack of resources.
There have been far too many cases when this has occurred. In 1996, a British solicitor called Sally Clark was wrongly accused of murdering her two small children. The expert evidence from the pathologist and the paediatric professor were heavily relied on for her conviction. They had failed to disclose all the relevant information to the case, and their opinions were inaccurate. Unfortunately, the trauma of the trial, three years of incarceration and media coverage became too much for her, and she was found dead in her house of alcohol poisoning shortly after she had been exonerated.
In Saint Lucia, section 66 of the Evidence Act 2002 makes special reference to opinions given by experts:
“Where a person has specialised knowledge based on the person’s training, study or experience, the opinion rule does not prevent the admission or use of evidence of an opinion of that person that is wholly or substantially based on that knowledge.”

            It is clear that the Evidence Act deals with the issue of the expert evidence as “opinions based on specialised knowledge”. What is not clear is how many years of experience would an expert need to have to be deemed as such. The Clark case showed that even experts can misrepresent evidence.
            In other cases which are well studied by law undergraduates include the Maguire Seven, Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four- all bombing cases in the 1970s; the Cardiff Three (three men were accused of killing a prostitute) and the Bridgewater Four (four men were accused of killing an eleven year old paper boy- one died in jail and the others were released in 1997).
It is difficult to estimate how many times miscarriages of justice occur-some instances go unreported. There is a lesson to be learnt here, because someone is convicted of a crime, and may even be found guilty does not automatically mean that they in fact did the crime of which they have been accused. Miscarriages of justice are inevitable due to human error, prejudice, procedural and substantive complications. However, it can be minimised by honesty and faith in the legal system.