THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: A NEW ERA
AbstractIn jurisdictions where there is no constitutional guarantee of the presumption of innocence, this axiom of the criminal law can be disregarded at the whim of the legislature or the courts. In Canada, however, where the right of the accused persons to be presumed innocent until proven guilty has been entrenched by section 11(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, any infringement of the presumptions must pass the stringent test of justification set forth in section 1 of the Charter. This article looks at the scope of the presumption of innocence and highlights some major areas of Canadian criminal law where breaches of the presumption occur despite the lack of any justification for such breaches, either on broad principles or under the strictures set forth by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Oakes.
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