2. Understand what the Crown has to prove
Question & AnswerI’ve been charged with Mischief Under $5,000. What do I need to know?
In every criminal case, the Crown must prove at least four things:
- Identity: you’re the person who committed the crime.
- Jurisdiction: this is the correct court to deal with your case. For example, if you’re charged with something you did when you were under 18, you should be in a youth court.
- Date: the crime took place when the police say it did.
- Elements of the crime.
The elements of the crime of Mischief Under are:
- You did one of these things:
- destroyed, damaged, or broke someone’s property
- interfered with someone’s property
- obstructed someone else from using their property
- Someone else owned the property
- You meant to do what you did
In some situations, you can be guilty of even if you didn’t mean to do what you did, but you are acting recklessly. For example, you were throwing rocks at a tree, but you missed and hit a car window behind the tree. Even though you didn’t mean to hit the car window, you were being reckless because you should have known you might miss the tree and damage property.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt
The judge can only find you guilty if they are certain about everything the Crown must prove. That means the Crown must prove identity, jurisdiction, date, and every element of the crime.
If the judge is not completely sure about even one of these things, the judge cannot find you guilty. This is known as “proof ”.
It is not enough for the judge to think that you’re probably guilty, or that you’re likely guilty. They must be certain about everything the Crown must prove.