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Criminal & DUI Lawyers, including:
Three Former Crown Prosecutors

Why Would I Be Believed Over The Police Officer Or Complainant

Video Transcript

This is a very interesting topic which I like to speak to you about today. Clients, they come into my office and we receive the police reports, the videos, they ask, “Look how am I gonna possibly be believed over the police officer or the complainant in this case?” and this is an interesting question. It all comes down to this: the burden of proof in Canada is that the crown (that is the prosecutor, the government if you will) they have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. They have to push the scales of justice all the way down. So it’s not a situation of whether you’re believed over the police officer. You just have to create reasonable doubt. For example, the judge could say to him or herself “Well, I think the police officer’s probably telling the truth or maybe telling the truth or the victims probably telling the truth. I tend to believe her but I have a reasonable doubt. I cannot completely reject the evidence of the accused and his defense is raised to reasonable doubt.” That’s a powerful burden and that’s why you do not need to believed over the complainant or the police officer and it boils down to this: the WD Test and I’ve spoken to this, about this on other video, so it boils down to this, if you testify in your criminal case as the accused, the judge has to ask himself or herself three steps. WD Supreme Court of Canada, if I believe the evidence of the accused, I must acquit. Well, I’m gonna share this with you. Politically, it’s difficult in Canada to convince the judge or jury or anyone really that the accused is really, really telling the truth. “I believe the accused, I’m gonna acquit” – that’s a hard thing to say for the judge in court. In the face of, for example, a sexual assault victim who’s told a compelling story but there’s other steps that can have your case dismissed. The second step is powerful, the judge says to himself or herself in the second step, “Even if I do not believe the evidence of the accused, I’m really not believing them but does it leave me with a reasonable doubt?” That’s a powerful step to win. That’s the second step. That’s again why you don’t need to be believed over the complainant because you’re just creating a reasonable doubt. The third step is even more powerful. Even if I completely reject the evidence of the accused, the judge says, “I don’t believe the accused, I think they’re lying. On the basis of all the other evidence, am I left with a reasonable doubt?” For example, I find the complainant, the victim to be quite compelling but I just had some uncertainty, I wasn’t sure, there were some slight holes in her testimony, some inconsistencies and I can’t find beyond a reasonable doubt that her version or his version is true or the police officer’s version is true. That’s how you win cases in Canada and that’s why you do not need to be believed over the police officer or over the complainant to win a case here in Canada.

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