Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is the duty of one party in a legal case to convince the decision-maker (judge and/or jury) that their version of the facts is true. The burden of proof is carried by the plaintiff in civil trials and the prosecution in criminal trials. The burden of proof is much greater in criminal trials than it is in civil trials, largely because there is much more at stake- like the defendant’s liberties- in a criminal trial. Non-criminal in nature, civil cases involve conflicts between parties over property rights, personal injury, breech of contract, and the like. In these cases, the plaintiff carries the burden of proof and must demonstrate their version of the facts to be true by a preponderance of evidence. In layman’s terms, this burden of proof requires that the defendant prove that their argument is more likely to be true than false. This is also called the balance of probabilities. When a plaintiff wins a civil case, the courts will typically order the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for their damages.

The burden of proof in criminal cases is much different for several reasons. A defendant in a criminal case often faces incarceration and the loss of many other civil liberties. A criminal defendant is presumed innocent of the charges against them until they are proven guilty. Thus, the burden of proof is very high in criminal cases. Prosecutors must be able to prove their version of the facts beyond a reasonable doubt. In criminal cases, this burden of proof requires that the prosecution demonstrate the defendant’s guilt for each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is considered synonymous to “a moral certainty.” Through fair and thorough consideration of the admissible facts in a case, the judge or jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of each element of the crime in order to convict the defendant. There are two general elements of a criminal case that the prosecution must prove. The first is that the defendant committed the criminal act(s) in question. In Latin, this is called actus reus. The burden of proof also requires that for each of these acts, the prosecution prove the defendant possessed a “criminal intention” called mens rea in Latin. Because the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, the defendant is not required to prove their innocence.  All the defendant has to do is argue that the prosecution has failed to prove their case. Even when the prosecution has successfully argued their case, some criminal defenses may still be employed help a defendant avoid or mitigate punishment for their crimes. The burden of proof in criminal cases is high and therefore provides some favor to the defendant in a case. If you have a charge before the court and you would like to learn more about burden of proof, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced legal service providers who can evaluate your case to determine how best to protect  legal interest
Strict Liability

Strict liability offences are offences where the burden is on the defendant to prove that he/she took all reasonable steps to prevent the offence from occurring. For strict liability offences, the defendant can use the defence of 'due diligence' in order to fight the conviction. Due diligence means that the defendant used reasonable effort to prevent the offence from happening.

Examples of traffic offences that are categorized as strict liability offences include driving while suspended, failure to remain, driving without insurance, careless driving, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Absolute Liability
For absolute liability offences, the mental state of the defendant is deemed irrelevant. The Crown only has to prove that the act was committed in order for the Court to register a conviction. So, any defence regarding the mental aspect of the defendant does not normally apply for these types of offences (except for the defence of necessity). Instead, defences aimed at questioning the act itself - for example, raising reasonable doubt as to whether the act occurred at all - is used.

Examples of traffic offences that are categorized as absolute liability offences include failure to stop at a red light and speeding.