By Jonathan Herring
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Extra info for Criminal law : the basics
Injustice is too high a price to pay for consistency. 29 30 BASIC CONCEPTS IN CRIMINAL LAW THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE One of the fundamental principles of English criminal law is that a person is presumed innocent, unless they are proved guilty. Hence a jury can convict a defendant only if they are persuaded that beyond all reasonable doubt the defendant is innocent. Notice this does not mean that the jury must have no doubts at all. After all, if the defendant claims that the crime was committed by a little green man from Mars, a jury may feel one cannot be 100 per cent sure that is untrue.
Some harms, therefore, may be better left between individuals and communities to sort out. The friend who lets you down may be a good example of this. Others involve a wrong to the state or the wrong is one that the state believes should not be left to individuals to resolve themselves. That may be because it is too serious a wrong to be dealt with informally or because the state is aﬀected by the harm. Second, the aim of the result of civil proceedings and criminal proceedings are diﬀerent. The aim of civil proceedings is to compensate the victim for their loss; the aim of the criminal punishment is to mark society’s disapproval of the behaviour and to deter similar conduct in the future.
It means that the defendant must have acted in a way a reasonable person would not. g. g. as a reasonable doctor). Notice that this is an objective test. It was no defence for Dr Adomako to argue that he did not breach his duty because he was doing his best, bearing in mind that he was exhausted by having had to work a long shift. The fact that a reasonable doctor would have spotted that the tube had come out in a matter of seconds was enough to mean that he had breached his duty of care, whatever good reasons he may have had for the lapse.