When you’ve been charged with a crime, there may be various evidentiary issues to be dealt with in trial. The best way to ensure your rights are protected is to speak with a criminal defence lawyer about your case. 

In many criminal cases evidence can be difficult to gather. Often the only evidence offered at trial from both sides is oral testimony from witnesses. What happens when the only witnesses are the alleged victim and the accused? How does the court make it’s decision in such cases. The answer has been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in the famous case, R v W.(D.) [1991] 1 SCR 742. This case is still the leading authority on “he said, she said” cases.

The Test

The test decided by the Supreme Court in R v. W.(D.), now applies to all cases where credibility is at issue. You must remember that in Canada and all common law countries, in criminal cases it is not enough for the judge to be fairly convinced that the allegations are true, the allegations must be believed to be true “beyond a reasonable doubt” and be supported by the evidence.

The test is laid out by the Supreme Court for deciding guilt in he said, she said cases is as follows:

  • If the accused’s evidence is believed, they must be acquitted.
  • If you do not believe the accused but their testimony raises a reasonable doubt, they must be acquitted.
  • Even if the accused’s testimony does not raise a reasonable doubt, you must still be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.

In otherwords, if you believe the accused they cannot be convicted, if the accused’s evidence is enough to raise a reasonable doubt they cannot be convicted and if the accused’s testimony makes no difference but the crown’s witness’ evidence does not convince you beyond a reasonable doubt the accused cannot be convicted. Only if there is enough evidence/satisfactory testimony to convict beyond a reasonable doubt can the accused be found guilty.

This is a very high threshold to convict. Cases where the accused and victim are the only witnesses giving evidence are prone to findings of not-guilty.

If you or your family member have been accused of any crime, contact a criminal lawyer immediately. The sooner you are represented the sooner you can fight the charges. Mehdi Au LLP has criminal lawyers on staff who can assist you with your case. We accept Legal Aid Certificates.

Disclaimer: Use of this site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor / client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for non-profit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.

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Use of the site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor / client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for nonprofit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.