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Criminal courts demand the highest standard of proof because they have the power to take away a person’s freedom. The burden of proof rests with Crown counsel to show that no reasonable doubt exists as to the guilt of the accused.
Crown counsel will present the prosecution’s case first. Evidence may be presented that could include photographs, clothing, weapons and medical reports and Crown witnesses will be called to testify.
There are three phases of testifying: direct examination, cross examination, and re-examination. If you are a witness for the Crown, Crown counsel will ask you questions first. These questions are called direct examination. The purpose of direct examination is to allow each witness to explain what he or she knows about the case.
After the direct examination is finished, defence counsel will conduct the cross-examination, which means that it is their turn to ask you questions. After cross-examination is finished, Crown counsel may wish to ask further questions about information that was discussed in cross-examination. This is called re-examination. Once these questions are answered, you will either be dismissed and be able to sit in the courtroom for the rest of the trial or be asked to leave the courtroom if you may have to testify again at a later date.