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The accused is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty

In any criminal case in Victoria, the accused is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty as discussed in the case of Woolmington v DPP [1935] AC 462; Howe v R (1980) 32 ALR 478). The prosecution has the burden of proving the guilt of the accused when they brought him in court for the crime charged.

The accused need not prove his innocence. To prove the guilt of the accused in the crime charged, the prosecution must prove it beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption of innocence is mandated under s25 (1) of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).

The onus and standard of proof required in criminal cases are proof beyond reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard required and demanded by the Australian Law and as stated in the Evidence Act of 2008. The prosecution need not prove every bits and details of the facts of the case. It is enough that the essential elements of the crime charged against the accused are proven beyond reasonable doubt. When all the elements of the crime charged were proven, then the verdict that should be given is “GUILTY”.

The prosecution has also the burden of disproving the innocence of the accused or his defences that arise in the trial as ruled by the Supreme Court in the case of R v Youssef (1990) 59 A Crim R 1; Zecevic v DPP (1987) 162 CLR 645. The prosecution must establish that the actions or acts of the accused were no accidental or a result of duress.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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