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Closing Arguments

After all of the evidence has been presented, Crown counsel will argue that the evidence proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused is guilty.

The defence will argue that Crown has not proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt and that the accused should be found 'not guilty' and the case dismissed.

In a criminal trial by judge alone, these final arguments are delivered by Crown and defence counsel after the defence's case is finished. If defence counsel has presented evidence then she or he will be the first to make final arguments. Crown counsel will speak last. If defence counsel did not call evidence, then the order is reversed.

Counsels' final arguments must only be about facts presented at trial. Counsel makes arguments based on evidence or such basic facts that everyone knows are correct and do not require formal proof. Only facts which are directly related to the trial can be discussed. The integrity of the Crown or the police should not be an issue in the case. Inflammatory statements, which could potentially affect the opinions of the judge or jury, should not be made in the closing arguments. The Crown especially must be seen as totally impartial in its presentation.

In a jury trial, the judge will summarize the evidence and counsels’ arguments for the jury. The judge will also explain the relevant legal principals to be applied in the case, give the jury any necessary instructions, and tell them when they may begin their “deliberations” or decision making about the case.

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