The scales of justice are not always evenly balanced!
In theory we are all innocent until proven guilty. What’s more, not only is it for the crown to prove guilt (rather than you to prove your innocence) but they must do so beyond reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard to achieve, which may explain why things like rape, where consent can often come down to one person’s word against another, can be so hard to prove.
The problem with theories is, well, they are theoretical which means that every now and then something will happen to buck the trend.
For example, you would assume that if you are innocent until proven guilty, you cannot be dismissed from your job simply because you’ve been charged with an offence. You’d expect that dismissal could only be justified if you were actually convicted, and even then, only if that conviction was relevant.
A speeding conviction might get you a raise if you are a delivery driver and a conviction for being drunk and disorderly might be considered a good reference if you are aiming to be a celebrity!
However, you may find you are wrong (or at least not automatically right) on all fronts.
In a recent case, a man’s dismissal for simply being charged with a sexual assault despite not having been found guilty and having a previously exemplary record was found to be fair. Whilst this is not the decision we would normally expect, on the very precise facts of this case, it was justified. The Tribunal found that the need of the employer to protect its clients and its reputation outweighed the need of the employee to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Not only does this show the need to take careful consideration of all the facts before you make a decision, it also demonstrates how unpredictable law can be. When I tell clients that it’s extremely unusual to give more than a 70% chance of success, and that there are never any guarantees in law, this is why!
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Never routine!