Sunday, June 14, 2009

Understand what Beyond Reasonable Doubt means

I have conducted many fraud investigations as well as defending people who have been charged with fraud. Something I see on a regular basis is that a person conducting the investigation does not understand the level of proof they need to obtain. It must be proven “beyond reasonable doubt” that a person has committed fraud. Beyond reasonable doubt is the standard of proof that is used by a magistrate, judge or jury to decide if an accused is guilty or not guilty of a criminal charge.

There are different terms for beyond reasonable doubt depending on the country you are conducting the investigation in. However, the ultimate meaning is the same.

The meaning is the proposition that is being presented by the prosecution must be proven to the extent that there is no reasonable doubt that a reasonable person would, in their own mind, consider the defendant is guilty. To be able to provide this level of proof you should also consider if you need to disprove any possible reasons why a transaction, that is subject to the criminal charge, occurred.

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