Truth Be Told: Burden Of Proof And Presumptions

The pictorial maxim of three wise monkeys suggests that we should maintain good mind, speech and action. However, in today's world marred by deception, lies and pretensions, turning a blind eye is not an option.  In the digital age, turning to social media is like opening Pandora's box. You will be greeted by a smorgasbord of gossips, fake news and whatnot. 

However, reality does not get any better. You are judged based on your actions and that is the harsh truth everyone wants to hide in a sugar-coated lie. One would say that less talk means less mistake. When everyone is on the safe side, many people becomes a slave to mediocrity, which is quite boring unless you prefer to become completely dead to the world, unperturbed to what is happening around you. 

We are human microscopes prying something out of a hapless specimen. When you just want to call a spade a spade, it does not give you absolute freedom to spew the words without inflicting harm. Call it accusation or allegation, but it has a certain degree of damage that awakens law from its deep slumber.

You mince your words, but without evidence, it becomes a fabricated story...hearsay. The ears can be selective. It can twist your words and even make things more confusing than you know leaving a bad taste in your mouth. I rest my case.

Burden of Proof and Presumptions

Section 1. Burden of Proof… the Duty of a party to present evidence on the facts in issue necessary to establish his claim by the amount of evidence required by law. This is also known as the Onus Probandi

I. Introduction.

Relationship between allegation and proof. He who alleges must prove. Allegations do not prove themselves. Although plaintiff’s causes of actions are couched in the strongest terms and most persuasive language, the allegations are of no consequence unless they are substantiated. Similarly, in criminal cases, the offense and the aggravating circumstances charged in an Information remain just accusations until they are shown to be true by the presentation of evidence. Defendant is not relieved from liability simply because the raises a defenses. 

II. Distinguished from related concepts:

1. Burden of Proof Proper or Burden of Persuasion or Risk of Non Persuasion- the duty of the party alleging the case to prove it.

a). This lies with the plaintiff

b). This lies too with the defendant as to his defenses and counter-claim

2. Burden of Evidence or Burden of Going Forward- The duty or logical necessity imposed upon a party, at any time during the trial, to establish a prima facie case in his favor or to overcome a prima facie case against him

3. Points of distinction:

a). The former never shifts but remains constant with the party while the latter shifts from one party to the other as the trial progresses

b). In civil cases where it leis is determined by the pleadings while the latter is determined by the rules of logic.

III. Who has the Burden of Proof Proper

1. The general rule is- he who would lose the case if no evidence is presented. Hence it is the plaintiff as to his causes of action, and the defendant as to his counterclaim.

2. In criminal cases, the burden of proving guilt is always the plaintiff/prosecution. But if the accused sets up an affirmative defense, the burden is on him to prove such by “clear, affirmative and strong evidence” 

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney