Our legal system
Our legal system functions under certain rules. One of those rules is that our system is an accusatory system: those that accuse must prove. The accusatory system means that we never have that simplistic situation where someone must prove their innocence.
Historically and by design, we as a society have chosen that if our legal system is going to go wrong it is better that no innocent person be convicted. Our system is designed to protect the innocent man. The benefit of the doubt must go to the accused.
One aspect of this is the presumption of innocence. An accused is presumed innocent until guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. The presumption of innocence is a principal of which we as a society can be proud. Our society and its freedoms are built on the back of the legal system that has that principle as its foundation.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
BRD is the standard of proof that the prosecution must meet in criminal cases. It is the highest standard known to the law and it makes sense that this standard is applied in criminal trials. It is a serious business to decide the guilt or innocence of a man. This standard ensures that innocents are not found guilty.
BRD can be distinguished from the other legal standard, the balance of probabilities. This is the standard in civil cases. In those cases 51 %, more likely than not is enough.
In a criminal trial, much more is required. Possibly guilty, probably guilty is not enough. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is required. If a jury thinks that there is even a possibility that someone is innocent then they must acquit.
The position of the accused
Despite these fundamental protections, someone accused of committing a crime is in a very difficult position. Make no mistake, police are determined to secure a conviction and imprisonment in almost all of these cases.
What needs to be done?
There are many parts of a criminal jury trial and many essential roles that the team involved must play in preparing for your case.
The successful preparation of your case will include;
- obtaining your instructions,
- receiving the disclosure or evidence,
- identifying the a strategy or strategies,
- researching the legal issues,
- preparing the cross examination,
- explaining the process to you,
- arguing in your favour.