In the justice system it is not so much what you did, it is what you can prove in a court of law.
That very clear distinction is a grey area that can result in a lot of legal victories for members of the defence counsel who have to strategically plan and execute a coherent argument.
Every criminal lawyer will advise that earning a satisfactory judgment from a judge or jury never happens by accident.
It will be the fruits of much intensive labour that takes place behind the scenes where witnesses will be spoken to, DNA will be tested, documentation will be assessed and a narrative can be formed that supports these events.
Here we will look at a series of strategies and events where the defence can defeat the opposing prosecutorial counsel.
Admitting to Guilt
The first strategy that defence counsel can utilise to win against a tough prosecution team is not to hide or avoid from certain guilt on behalf of the client within a case, but admit it head-on. This is not to admit defeat for the case entirely, but perhaps it speaks to their personal culpability. There is likely to be anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that is brought before a courtroom and rather than attempt to overlook those details, concede they are fact and fight the battle on more pressing details.
Client Cooperating With Law Enforcement
Charges will be pursued with absolute vigour if a client is not cooperating with law enforcement to withhold information or fail to adequately respond to questions. If they are working in conjunction and cooperating fully with investigators and helping to provide new leads that produces other convictions, that is important leverage that works in their favour. It may not provide a winning case, but it can reduce the risk factor.
No Witnesses Stepping Forward
In order for a prosecution to gain genuine momentum within a case, they need third party witnesses who might have been privy to the event to step forward and testify on the record. If it is simply a matter where an alleged victim is delivering their account against another party, that can be difficult for counsel to successfully argue that a crime has been committed. It is true that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, a situation where the lack of a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt does not equate to exoneration. Yet within the justice system it is vital that key witnesses step forward in order for direct evidence to be used for a conviction.
Impeccable Client Criminal Record
According to Papa Hughes – criminal lawyers from Melbourne it can be hard for a prosecution to argue for a guilty verdict that imposes the maximum legal penalty for a first time offender. Unless the crime is particularly heinous, it will always work in the favour of the defence that their client has an impeccable criminal record. If this happens to be the case, that can be leverage that begins with a lighter sentencing to an indirect form of evidence that illustrates a lack of motive on behalf of the client to commit the crime in the first place.
Victim Drops Charges
There are rare cases that will see the victim or the alleged victim of a crime essentially drop the charges altogether. There could be a myriad of factors that can lead to this scenario. From a lack of evidence, the introduction of new evidence or diminished financial resources to a simple change of heart – the charges have to be upheld for a conviction to be reached. It is an event that is largely outside the control of a defence team, but if they can persuade the individual to drop the charges then they can avoid a lengthy and costly legal battle.
In the field of criminal law there will be many instances where an early plea or agreement can restrict the initial charges and that can feel the same as a win. If there is significant jail time at stake, it is the duty of the solicitor to offer all potential avenues on the table to reduce the risk to their client. Yet these strategies and events can help to turn the tables and ensure that the concept of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is upheld.