“Innocent until proven guilty” – is it possible to face charges without concrete evidence?
Facing criminal charges can be a daunting experience – sometimes leaving individuals questioning the basis for their arrest. In Queensland, can the police charge someone even without hard evidence?
Police Arrests and Charges
The process of arrest and pressing charges by the police is guided by the availability of evidence and the level of suspicion regarding a potential crime.
While the police cannot proceed with pressing charges without any evidence, they can take action if there is reasonable suspicion that a person may be involved in an incident or planning to commit a crime.
For example, if the police observe suspicious behaviour, such as someone attempting to break into a property or engaging in activities consistent with drug trafficking, they may have reasonable grounds to make an arrest and proceed with charges, even if direct evidence is not immediately available.
It is important to understand the distinction between arrest and charges. Arrest involves taking a person into custody based on reasonable suspicion, while charges entail formal accusations for specific criminal offences. Before pressing charges, the police conduct a thorough investigation to gather sufficient evidence.
The Role of Evidence in Building a Case
In Queensland, when the police receive a complaint or suspect that a crime has been committed, they initiate an investigation. During this process, the police collect evidence, interview witnesses, and gather information to build a case against the alleged offender.
This evidence could include testimonial evidence from witnesses or victims, DNA analysis from the crime scene, photographs or video footage, documentation and digital footprints, and messages published or sent online.
Without sufficient evidence, the police should not proceed with charging an individual. If evidence later emerges that contradicts the initial suspicions, charges can be dropped.
Presumption of Innocence
It is essential to uphold the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" during the legal process. This protection ensures that no individual can be treated as a criminal until evidence is presented and their guilt is established through a fair and impartial trial.
While a person may be arrested based on reasonable suspicion, they are considered innocent until the evidence presented in court proves otherwise.
The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and they must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the alleged offence.
Protections Against Unreasonable Arrests
The Queensland Police Service (QPS) must act within the boundaries of the law when making arrests. They can only arrest someone if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed or is about to commit an offence. An arrest without sufficient cause could be deemed unlawful, and any evidence obtained during an illegal arrest may be inadmissible in court.
Seeking Legal Support for Your Defence
Facing criminal charges without concrete evidence can have serious consequences.
Having skilled legal representation is crucial to protect your rights and build a strong defence.
An experienced criminal defence lawyer will thoroughly examine the evidence, challenge the prosecution's case, and explore all possible defences.
Contact Creevey Horrell Criminal Lawyers
Based in Brisbane, Roma, Toowoomba, and Townsville.
Visit www.chcriminallawyers.com.au/contact-us to contact us today.