What Is Required For A Conviction In A Criminal Trial Canada?

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At the end of the trial, when the case comes to a close, everyone in the room holds their breath. The fate of the defendant rests on the judge’s decision. You can’t imagine the tension of that moment as the whole room waits to hear the verdict.

What events lead up to that decision? Before someone can be declared guilty or not guilty, the prosecutor or criminal defence lawyer must prove their client’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.

If someone presses charges against you, it will not result in an immediate conviction.  First, the prosecutor must prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant is given an opportunity to make a case for themselves and cross-examine witnesses. 

In this article, we’re going to give you a closer look at the events that precede a conviction:

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

In our lives, it’s rare to be absolutely certain about anything. The same is true of a court case. The judge and jury were not present when the crime took place, so how can they know with certainty whether the defendant is guilty or not?

The prosecutor’s job is to prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. With a criminal lawyer, it’s the inverse; they try to prove that their client did not commit the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

This means that the lawyer does not need to prove their case to an absolute certainty. Rather, they must provide sufficient evidence that their argument is the most probable explanation for what took place.

The defendant is always innocent until proven guilty. Until the prosecutor or the Crown provides sufficient proof, the defendant will always be presumed innocent

Types of Evidence

A judge or jury cannot arrive at a verdict without evidence. But what is considered “proof” in a criminal trial? The prosecutor or the criminal lawyer may try to prove their client’s claims by using evidence like:

  • Fingerprints
  • Blood samples
  • DNA samples
  • Weapons
  • Diagrams or charts based on witness testimonies 
  • Maps of a crime scene
  • Documents (letters and videos)

The Ending of the Trial

Once all the proceedings have wrapped up, it’s time for the judge to announce their verdict. They will consider each argument and piece of evidence presented during the trial to reach this decision. There are three potential verdicts:

  • Guilty. If the accused person is found guilty on all charges, the judge will issue their sentence, which may take effect immediately or at a later date. 
  • Not guilty. Once someone is acquitted of all charges, they are free to leave the courtroom.
  • A hung jury. What happens if the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision? In that case, a judge will call for another trial with a different jury (or with no jury).

Create a Strong Defence with a Criminal Lawyer

If you’re accused of a crime, you need to do everything in your power to make a strong case for yourself. But this undertaking is too much to take on alone. You need an experienced criminal lawyer by your side.

Our lawyers at https://gregbrodsky.ca/ offer legal representation for charges of impaired driving, theft, and more. You can email or call us at any time for legal advice. To speak with a criminal lawyer, contact us today.