When Credibility of the Accused is the Issue

The accused is not required by law to testify at his own trial. He cannot be forced to testify. When he does so, however, special rules apply, particularly in assessing his credibility. When the credibility of the accused is considered, the trial Judge or jury is required to apply the test of reasonable doubt to this issue. It should be considered in the following manner:

1. If they (the Judge or jury) believe the evidence of the accused, they must acquit.
2. If they do not believe the testimony of the accused but are left in reasonable doubt by it, they must acquit.
3. Even if they are not left in reasonable doubt by the evidence of the accused, they still must ask whether they are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused based on the balance of the evidence that is accepted.

Canadian Criminal Procedure by Patrick J Ducharme

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

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