The crux of final submissions in a criminal trial is whether there is a reasonable doubt as to the accused’s guilt based on the evidentiary record.

It is useful for defence counsel to reiterate that the onus is on the prosecution to prove an allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. The starting point in the analysis is that the accused is presumed to be innocent. There is no burden on the defence – the accused is not required to testify nor to produce any evidence in response to an allegation.

The Crown must address any weaknesses in its case, and explain how the evidence is sufficient to quell any reasonable doubts. 

The Defence must articulate how the prosecution has failed to eliminate all reasonable doubts. In lengthy trials, it is helpful for defence counsel to keep a running list of specific points that raise reasonable doubts about the accused’s culpability. 

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