• The presumption of innocence is a well-recognised civil and political right and a fundamental common law principle.
  • Section 25(1) applies to persons who have been charged with a criminal offence.
  • A charged person is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty of committing the offence with which he or she has been charged.
  • The prosecution has the burden of proof and must prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. This usually means the prosecution must prove both the physical and fault elements of an offence and disprove any exceptions or defences that are raised by the accused.
  • Reverse onus provisions, being laws that shift the burden of proof to the accused or apply a presumption of fact or law operating against an accused, may breach s. 25(1).
  • Whether a reverse onus provision breaches s. 25(1) involves consideration of all the facts and circumstances.