The Prosecution open their case by making a speech to the Jury. In general terms the opening speech sets out: the burden and standard of proof
and a summary of what their case against you is in terms of the evidence.
At the close of the Prosecution case, the Defence has an opportunity to make a submission to the Judge (in the absence of the jury) that there is no evidence upon which, a reasonable jury could convict the defendant.
This is called a submission of ‘No Case to Answer’.
If, after hearing submissions from both counsel, the Judge agrees with the Defence submission, he/she will stop the case by directing the Jury to acquit the Defendant.
If the judge does not accept the defence submission, proceedings progress to the defence case.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The law in this country places the burden to prove the case solely on the Prosecution.
This essentially means that the defendant is not required to prove his/her innocence but it is the job of the Prosecution to prove that he/she is guilty of the alleged crime.
You have probably heard of the expression ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
Many defendants are understandably sceptical of this but this is something that juries take very seriously when considering their verdict.
This doesn’t mean that the prosecution must prove every minute detail against you.
What they must do however is prove the essential elements of the offence against you.
What is the Standard of Proof?
The term ‘standard of proof’ refers to the level at which the Prosecution must prove their case.
The standard of proof in this country is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ which means that the Prosecution must convince the Jury of the Defendant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
In practice this means that the Jury must be sure and 100% convinced that you are guilty.
If the Jury is not sure and hold any reasonable doubts over the Prosecution case and the guilt of the Defendant they must find the defendant ‘Not Guilty’.