Photo by EKATERINA  BOLOVTSOVA

A basic rule in every fair trial is that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Going by definition, an accusation is simply a claim by someone over a person they deem guilty of a significant offense. When making an accusation, it’s your word against theirs, so there has to be solid proof that the crime occurred and was done by the person accused. And if the accused has to face trial to prove their innocence, that shouldn’t be a reason for them to be labeled a criminal unless convicted. The State is also responsible for verifying anyone of being truthfully guilty and not automatically pointing fingers at the accused party.

Once a person has been convicted, the consequences are often severe and devastating. Whether the accused committed the crime or not, it can destroy anyone’s life. Coercion or forcing someone to confess to speed up the investigation process is improper. It only worsens the situation and adds distress to the ones involved with the accused. The importance of the rule of law that dictates how the person should be given a chance to prove themselves is a fundamental right, and author Drake Alexander explores that in his book Coup.

Level The Playing Field

Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent. The system had made countless blunders on that part due to the urge to be hasty and partly laziness. The desire to get it over with doesn’t help because it goes on record and would be nearly impossible to fix or take back. We know that justice is best served hot, consistently, and without delay. However, we must also consider that sometimes, hastiness leads to error and may put a permanent label on the person who never did any wrong. This is why, ideally speaking, it wouldn’t be nice to level the playing field by not labeling the accused a ‘criminal’ right away. And wouldn’t it be ideal to wait for a verdict by the court before we label someone criminally guilty?

How To Treat The Accused Properly

It’s vital that the State protects that fact and not make the things under wraps public. Keeping investigative details discreet will serve as protection for the accused. It would’ve been ideal if the media didn’t disclose the identity of the accused and police officers covered the person’s face so they won’t be outed and shamed to a personal extent by both the press and the public. Other countries, however, don’t work that way. The former is an excellent example of a presumption of innocence. At the same time, the latter fails to protect the accused by subjecting them to trauma and anxiety from being labeled a criminal without concrete evidence.

The State shouldn’t resort to unfair means to secure a conviction. This point has been heavily emphasized frequently because this is a basic rule that the criminal justice system often forgets. Unless personal circumstances require the reopening of an investigation that already took place, a person can be tried again. The prosecution should be done the first time correctly, so there won’t be additional burdens on both parties later.

Other Factors That Contribute To The Presumption Of Innocence

Witness testimony is an excellent way to prove the innocence of the accused. The testimony stated by a witness establishes an alibi, supporting the chances of the accused retaining their integrity. However, getting anyone you know to testify for you is not enough. The courts have particular qualifications for a person to pass as a witness. The witness is credible, too. And the witness can be accountable for any false testimony they might make, so they can be imprisoned if they lie in court. 

Documents are other examples of solid evidence that may help prove a person’s innocence, as long as they’re not falsified. Other examples of solid pieces of evidence include the following:

  • Phone records
  • Photos or videos
  • Security camera footage
  • DNA

Unless they don’t contradict the testimonies and circumstances that led to the crime, a person accused can still prove their innocence.

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