Whether you have committed a crime or not, the crown prosecutor must provide enough evidence to prove you guilty. Until then, you are presumed innocent. Going to trials is a difficult time and you must prepare for any sort of question your prosecutor might ask.
For this, you should know what the opposing party needs to prove against you. To do that, the crown prosecutor must prove that 1) you did a criminal act physically, 2) you had the intention of engaging in a criminal act.
Actus Reus Vs Mens Rea
There are two conditions for proving someone’s conviction, namely actus reus, and mens rea. Actus reus usually refers to the crime in which the accused was physically involved. The crown prosecutor needs to prove that it is the accused person who committed the crime by providing enough evidence. We will talk about different types of evidence later.
Men rea refers to the term in which it is considered that accused had an intention of doing a particular crime. For example, if someone meant to kill the victim but failed to do so. The crown prosecutor must prove both criminal acts.
There are some cases where the defendant is not provided with an exception. Most of these relate to highways, environment protection, or public safety. This is called a strict liability or absolute liability rule and the defendant will be held responsible in any case.
Without solid proof, nobody can accuse someone of the crime. Proofs should ready as soon as possible, either for actus reus or men’s rea. However, police can arrest you for further investigation sometimes.
Types of Evidences
There is direct and indirect evidence to prove someone guilty. Depending on the type of crime, different pieces of evidence can be used against you, such as:
- Direct evidence such as videos
- Testimonies such as victim’s statements
- Hard evidence such as DNA
- Documents such as bank statements, photographs, or maps
- Indirect evidence such as fingerprints also called circumstantial evidence
For your clarification, let’s set a scenario here. Direct evidence would be when there is a clear video recording of you committing a crime. There is no uncertainty left in that case, and you are a criminal then. However, indirect or circumstantial evidence is different from this and needs extra proof to prove your crime.
An example of circumstantial evidence is fingerprints. While there may be nothing clear to prove your crime, there might be a few pieces of evidence such as your fingerprints on a weapon. Or, for example, someone giving testimony that they saw you committing the crime, is also an example of circumstantial evidence.
Usually, the court prefers direct evidence because they are more clear and understandable for everyone. Indirect evidence, however, requires more processes until the accused is proven guilty or innocent. Also, if some crimes were done involuntarily, for example during sleepwalking. Such crimes are not considered being done by the accused until an in-depth analysis.
State Of Mind
State of mind analysis is crucial to know about the men rea crimes. The state of the mind of the accused also tells if the person has intentionally committed a crime or not. For example, the state of mind can be fear, negligence, or panic. In such cases, the crime can occur out of anxiety or panic. An example can be speeding, one can’t tell what the driver was thinking in his head and whether he was intending to over-speed or not.
All the evidence is presented to the lawyers, judges, and magistrate. Direct evidence may not require further evidence. However, circumstantial evidence needs more support evidence and the final decision is decided accordingly.
During this process, the accused can also present his side and proof. He can hire a lawyer who can help him during this process. You must hire an experienced criminal lawyers in Edmonton who can build up your case to defend you. Such experts can