The Legal Position.
Currently, the burden of proving the guilt of a defendant, lies on the prosecution, who must prove the particulars of the offence, beyond ‘reasonable doubt’. Proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, means proof that is close to an absolute certainty. If the judge or jury is sure someone committed the crime, based on the evidence, that is sufficient.
We believe that the ‘presumption of innocence’ is not a balanced and fair position for the law to take, and consequently, neither should the burden of proof lie exclusively with the prosecution. Again, in order to be equitable, surely there should be a shared ‘burden’ to provide evidence of innocence or guilt, on the basis that the law and the jury stand impartial, until all evidence has been weighed and a decision reached.
NOTE: in certain defences to a criminal charge, the defence can find that a statute expressly states that a legal burden of proof rests on them to prove, on the ‘balance of probabilities’ that they are innocent. Why then, can this not be applied to very serious cases such as murder and manslaughter?