Our legal justice system is supported by one main idea: innocent until proven guilty.
Every person being investigated for a crime, and every defendant charged with a crime, has this privilege. The prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a defendant is guilty, before that person can be convicted of an offence.
This is the theory.
In reality, a defendant has a much greater chance of being found not guilty if they can put forward a positive defence.
A compelling defence allows the defendant to counter the basis of the prosecution case.
The most obvious example of this is the use of an alibi.
A defendant can simply deny that he was responsible for an alleged assault in Birmingham on 20 December 2015. That is his right. He can put the prosecution to proof; simply leave them to build a case and see if that case alone is strong enough to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is guilty. The defendant doesn’t even have to give evidence at his own trial.
But it is, of course, more compelling for that person to give evidence and say that actually, they were in Southampton on 20 December 2015, and have witnesses who can confirm this.
It’s a lucky person who finds themselves with such a tight alibi.
In many cases, this isn’t the reality.
You may be contacted several months after the alleged incident, when the alleged date has no significance in your memory. Unless you’re a detailed diary keeper, it may be virtually impossible for you to calculate whether you would have even been at the scene of the alleged crime on the date in question.
Imagine the scenario.
You’re contacted in March, about that December assault. You live in Birmingham, and the scene of the alleged crime is Birmingham city centre. You’re not a diary keeper, which is unfortunate because the Court can expect a sometimes unrealistic level of diary keeping.
There’s no CCTV. The evidence comes via witness statements. One witness mentions your nickname as who he believes committed the assault. The police have investigated to find who that nickname relates to, and have found you, hence the delay in contacting you.
If they’d spoken to you the day after, you’d have been able to confirm your whereabouts for not only the day of the alleged incident, but probably the specific time. Three months later, you’re left to guess where you were.
You know you’re not guilty, but how do you prove that? How do you get anyone to believe you?
You may have been in Birmingham on that date. You may have been on that specific road on that date. It certainly wouldn’t have been unusual for you to have been in your nearest city centre in the last few days before Christmas.
But you don’t know for a fact that you were there or anywhere else.
How do you disprove something you don’t remember?
Our advice would certainly be to instruct an expert criminal defence team.
We see this scenario frequently and have a wealth of tools and resources available to us to assist with tracking a person’s whereabouts on any given day, together with our expertise at compiling patterns of behaviour and following paper trails.
When you cannot remember where you were, or what you were doing, we can use all of these skills and resources to assist you in putting forward the strongest positive defence for your case.
To discuss this further with our expert criminal defence team, call now on 01623 397200.