Our firm represents a lot of people who are charged with sexual assault, domestic assault, assault, and those type of charges, where the evidence that the crown brings forth is often based on the victim’s word alone. There’s no DNA evidence, there’s no confirming evidence, there’s no other evidence.
Sometimes, these are historical charges going back 10-20-30 years. My clients ask me “Mike, how can they possibly charge me based on the word of a person from 30 years ago?” Well unfortunately, that’s how our system works. The police can and do lay charges based on word alone.
If a victim meets with the police and gives them a video statement and the police find that the evidence is credible and reliable, then they have reasonable grounds to lay a charge and they’re entitled to do that. So the short answer is this happens all the time. People get convicted all the time just based on someone’s word.
However, the system is set up to favour the accused. There’s a presumption of innocence, there’s a W-D test. So you’re entitled to defend yourself, through cross-examination or you testify as well, or a combination of the two.
In another video, I talk about how those tests are applied and how it’s set up in your favour. So even though it’s your word against another person’s word, the system’s tilted in your favour. The crown has to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. That is why you can often – very often in fact – the majoity of cases where it’s one word against the other, you can win mostly those caes in the hands of a good lawyer.