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3.7.1 – Charge: Conventional Directions

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Note: This charge is based on the assumption that the judge has already instructed the jury about the onus and standard of proof at the beginning of the trial (see Charge: Onus and Standard of Proof). If this has not been done, it will need to be modified accordingly.

See Onus and Standard of Proof, for a discussion of the legal principles relevant to this area.

I want to emphasise again that under our justice system people are presumed to be innocent, unless and until they are proved guilty. So before you may return a verdict of guilty, the prosecution must satisfy you that [each of] the accused is guilty of the charge[s] in question. The accused does/do not have to prove anything.

The prosecution must do this by proving [each of] the accused’s guilt of the charge[s] beyond reasonable doubt. As I have told you, these words mean exactly what they say – proof beyond reasonable doubt.

The prosecution does not need to prove every fact that they allege to this standard. It is the essential ingredients or "elements" of the charge[s] that they must prove beyond reasonable doubt. I will explain these elements in detail in a moment.

If a defence is in issue, add the following shaded section.

The prosecution must also disprove any possible defences beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, that means the prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that NOA was not [insert relevant defence]. I will also explain this defence in more detail shortly.]

It is only if you are satisfied that the prosecution has proven all of the elements of a charge [and disproved all defences] beyond reasonable doubt that you may find the accused guilty of that charge. If you are not satisfied that the prosecution has done this, your verdict must be "Not Guilty".


Last updated: 1 December 2009

See Also

3.7 - Review of the Onus and Standard of Proof

3.7.2 - Charge: Expanded Direction

3.7.3 – Charge: Reverse Onus

3.7.4 - Charge: Liberato Direction