- In Canadian law, the accused is innocent until proven guilty.
- The Defense lawyer’s job is to protect the rights of the accused. The defense does not have to prove anything as the Onus is on the Crown to prove their case. As such the Defense counsel only has to present enough reasonable doubt to convince the jury that their client must be found “Not Guilty” and acquitted.
- A Defense Counsel would not have to call any witnesses and it is the right of the accused to remain silent. They do not have to testify on their own behalf. (This Right exists so that an accused can not be forced to incriminate themselves.)
- The Defense should try to discredit or establish the following:
- The date and the place where the incident took place,
- The people who were present during the crime and, most importantly, establish that the defendant is not the perpetrator, and that they did not have mens rea and actus reus. This is usually done by way of presenting an alibi.
- The defense will want to call some facts, presented by the Crown into question in order to display reasonable doubt. However other facts they will want to agree with and manipulate to prove their argument rather than the Crown’s
- Know the charges, applicable law, all of the different elements of the case and the court procedures.
- Talk to witnesses and listen. This is the same as stated in the Crown Attorney’s duties.
- Anticipate the opposition. The Defense must be ready to question the crown witnesses on points where: their evidence disagrees with the evidence of Defense witnesses, their evidence shows bias, mistakes, or contradictions. The Defense will want to avoid asking questions unless they know the answer or know how to integrate their response into their own point.
- Disclose all information.
- The Defense will: Prepare an opening statement, Cross Examination questions, Direct examination questions and a summation.
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