What Is “Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt”?

The term “Proof Beyond a Reasonable doubt” is the test used in criminal trials to determine whether the evidence admitted at a criminal trial is true or not and whether the sum of that evidence is enough to convict or acquit an accused.    Without getting too complicated, reasonable doubt is often referred to at the end of a criminal trial.   Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the test used to determine whether the Crown has proven its case or not.  “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is more than just possibility, but at the same time it is not an absolute certainty – nothing is rarely able to be proven with absolute certainty.  The burden of proof in a criminal trial always rests with the Crown which means it is their onus and their obligation to prove a criminal case.  The defence is under no obligation whatsoever to prove any facts in a criminal case.   Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is more than a likelihood that an event(s) happened.  Beyond a reasonable doubt approaches certainty but does not quite get to one hundred percent.  You may ask why such a high burden exists to prove a criminal case?  The reason is policy that is the bedrock of our criminal justice system and which exists in a free and democratic society.  Society does not take it lightly to label someone a criminal for the rest of their lives, including having them serve a potentially lengthy jail sentence.  Society wants to be absolutely certain that only guilty people have criminal records and go to jail.  In our democratic and free society it is also important that no one person be able to accuse another of a crime without rigorously testing the accusation.  If you are under investigation or facing criminal charges please contact Avi Baratz at 905-789-9007 or email at avi@baratzlaw.com for a free and confidential consultation. 

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