I want to talk to you today about the most important fundamental principle of Canadian criminal law. And that’s the presumption of innocence. What does that mean? What does that mean to us? It’s, we pay lip service all the time, but in a democratic society like ours, we have it and that’s such an important way it protects innocent people who are charged with a criminal offence. So what is it mean? It means this, throughout the entire trial process, an accused is presumed to be innocent. As they sit there in the courtroom, the judge or jury has to say to themselves, there is an innocent man right there in that chair. Has the crown proven beyond reasonable doubt that they’re guilty. Beyond a reasonable doubt. So when the jury goes into the deliberation room, for example, I say in my last jury trial, I said to the jury, members of the jury, you’re going to go home to your friends and family after this trial, and you’re going to forget this case in a day in a week, maybe two weeks or a year. My client is never going to forget your verdict here today. You’ve heard about the presumption of innocence from the Judge from his Honour and you’re hearing from me. He is an innocent man as he sits here right now. You are presuming he’s innocent in the jury room. Only unless until the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt to you that he’s guilty is that cloak of innocence taken off pretending he has a shield of innocence on him, and it’s up to the crown the state to remove that. This is such an important principle. Please
do not regret your verdict here today. If you go home for example, we cannot say oh, what if what if he was innocent. I thought he was only probably guilty or, you know, I’ve pretty certainly still be almost certain. That’s not good enough. He’s presumed innocent. And you have to apply reasonable doubt in this case. So bear that in mind, when you go in the jury room. Keep saying yourself there is an innocent man, has the Crown met their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s in a nutshell presumption of innocence is so important. It’s so fundamental. There’s an old adage, an old jurist, a couple 100 years ago, it said, better convict 1000, better to acquit, I should say, 1000 guilty men that then convict one innocent one, and that’s why we have the presumption of innocence. We’re not rushing here where they just grabbed you, throw you in jail, and have some sort of show trial. And that’s so important. So bear that in mind as the most fundamental important principle of Canadian criminal law. Thank you for watching our video. We are absolutely committed to bring you the best possible criminal and DUI educational videos. If you found this video helpful, please like it and subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario and require our services, please click on the link in the description below.