Flashcards in Law of evidence and proof Deck (10)
What is the woolmington principle?
It is the presumption of innocence.
Subject to specific statutory exceptions the BURDEN OF PROOF lies clearly with the prosecution in relation to all elements of the offence.
The woolmington principle is subject to limitations in law and practice.
The fact prosecution bears burden of proof does not mean the defence need not put forward any case at all.
Defence may have a 'practical obligation', 'evidential burden', the burden of proof may be reversed or Woolmington may simply not apply.
what is the Practical obligation on defence
Where defence does not want to put up a particular defence (ie self defence), but they have an obligation to point to some evidence that suggests reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty - applies where defence wishes to state they did not do the act or have the intent.
It is not burden of proof
What is 'evidential burden' on defence?
This applies where the defence DOES want to put up a particular defence to a charge. It is then up to the defence to point to some evidence that suggests an explanation.(ie self defence).
This 'evidential burden' is then made a 'live issue' by defence, and the prosecution must then destroy that defence. BURDEN OF PROOF REMAINS WITH THE PROSECUTION.
Exceptions to the woolmington principle.
Sec 23(1) CA 1961
Sec 202a CA 1961
Sec 45 EA 2006
Sec 23(1) - Defence of insanity
Legal burden of proof is placed on the defendant
Sec 202A - Possession of offensive weapon in circumstances..etc
Burden of proof on defence to prove no intent
Sec 45 - Identification evidence
Burden of proof on defence to prove to prove ID evidence is unreliable.
When Woolmington may not apply:
'Public welfare offences':
These are offences where the conduct has a tendency to endanger the public, and the prosecution need only prove the actus reus not the Mens Rea, then the burden of proof passes to the defendant to prove a total absence of fault.
These are strict liability offences and may be seen as sitting outside Woolmington principal as opposed to a true exception.
Discharging burden of proof
The party with the burden of proof must discharge this to the required standard:
Prosecution = beyond reasonable doubt
Defence = balance of probabilities.
what is reasonable doubt:
R V WANHALLA
Reasonable doubt is:
'An honest and reasonable uncertainty left in your mind about the guilt of the defendant after you have given careful and impartial consideration to all of the evidence'.
Proving the case beyond reasonable doubt:
Starting point is the presumption of innocence.
Beyond reasonable doubt is a very high standard of proof, which is only met if the jury or judge at the end of the case is sure the defendant is guilty.
It is not enough to think the defendant is probably guilty or very likely guilty. Must be sure they are guilty.