Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

The legal requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is an important part of the criminal justice system. A reasonable doubt is not a far-fetched or frivolous doubt. It is not a doubt based on sympathy or prejudice. It is a doubt based on reason and common sense. It is a doubt that logically arises from the evidence, or lack of evidence. The prosecution is not required to prove anything with absolute certainty.

If, at the end of the case, the trial Judge or the jury, based on all the evidence, are sure that the accused committed the offence they should find him guilty since they would then be satisfied of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence are inextricably connected. Most Judges will instruct the jury that the term, “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that even if they believe the accused is “probably guilty” or “likely guilty” that is not sufficient. In those circumstances they would give the accused the benefit of the doubt and find him not guilty because the prosecution has failed to satisfy them that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


2022 Criminal Trial Strategies - Patrick J Ducharme

The above is the an excerpt of Patrick J Ducharme’s book, Criminal Trial Strategies, available at Amazon or in bulk through MedicaLegal Publishing.

Read or listen to the Preface and Introduction and subscribe to Patrick Ducharme’s Youtube Channel.