Conflicting Stories and Reasonable Doubt: Variations on W. (D.)'s Theme

24 Criminal Reports (6th) 241, 2005

5 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2012

See all articles by Steve Coughlan

Steve Coughlan

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

Whether the guilt of an accused has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt is always a difficult issue, particularly so when the accused has testified. There is little difficulty when an accused's exculpatory testimony is accepted by the trial judge, since that of course leads unambiguously to an acquittal. More complex is the situation where a trial judge does not simply accept the accused's version of events — that is, most of the time. In those circumstances, trial judge must embark down the twisty road of deciding whether disbelieved testimony can nonetheless result in an acquittal, or alternatively whether an acquittal must still result from some other reason.

The primary guidance in these circumstances is the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. W. (D.).] In addition, though, a number of recent court of appeal decisions in several provinces have added guidance on applying those rules in various circumstances. These decisions show the delicate balancing that is necessary to, on the one hand, permit reasonable inferences, but on the other continue to respect the need to require that convictions not occur without proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Keywords: accused, exculpatory testimony, resonable doubt, guilt

Suggested Citation

Coughlan, Steve, Conflicting Stories and Reasonable Doubt: Variations on W. (D.)'s Theme (2005). 24 Criminal Reports (6th) 241, 2005 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2133448

Steve Coughlan (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
19
Abstract Views
334
PlumX Metrics