This is one of the most important questions that the researcher has tried to analyse in this paper.The researcher has analysed the meaning and scope of the two standards, the position in India and finally, the question of a third standard.
When jurors do not understand what reasonable doubt means, many are likely to return a guilty verdict even when they are unsure because they do not want to take a chance on letting a guilty person go free.
What are some other ways that we can describe reasonable doubt to jurors?
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We come back to the box, untie the strings, and open it up. No one saw what happened, there is no video, but we can be pretty sure what happened to the mouse. We put a mouse into the box, and we put a cat into the box with the mouse.
We close the lid, tie the box up tight with string, and leave it for about an hour. You really want to eat this meal that you’ve been waiting for, but you also do not want to get food poisoning from rotten meat.
We don’t want to come across to jurors as saying, “maybe my client is guilty, but they can’t prove it.” Although that may be a reasonable argument for some people, it is not persuasive and may result in a guilty verdict from a jury made up of “law and order” folks.
How can we explain reasonable doubt, then, without sounding snarky and smug about it?
There is a clear understanding that the Courts follow according to wich the standard of proof to be followed in a criminal case is that of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ whereas the standard of proof changes, even lowers to the ‘balance of probabilities’ in cases of civil proceedings.
It is also widely understood that the standard is higher in criminal cases.