Client Acquitted of All Charges: Attempt Fraud, Uttering False Documents, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
Fraud charges can take on many forms, including uttering false documents, attempted fraud, or even possession of property obtained by crime. The client was charged with all of the above.
The Crown decided to prosecute the client on allegations that he walked into a bank with a forged cheque, issued payable to himself from an incorporated business, and tried to cash it. The teller told the client that the cheque needed to be verified first. When the client returned to the bank the next day, he was arrested and told that the cheque was fraudulent.
The client exercised his right to silence at trial and did not testify.
As Mr. MacDonald argued in his defence, it was up to the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that that the client knew that the cheque was false, and the client was not obliged to give any explanation for having it. Going into a bank with a cheque, being told that the cheque would need to be verified, then coming back the next day to find out if the cheque had cleared yet did not knowledge that the cheque was fraudulent. On the contrary, it was exactly what any innocent person would have done.
The client was acquitted of all charges.
The judge’s verdict was consistent with the long- standing principle that the Crown must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and must disprove all reasonable innocent explanations. The government arrests and charges people, the government compels people to come to court time-and-again to prosecute them – on trial day, it’s the government’s job to actually prove the allegations. It is not the accused’s job to prove his innocence or to explain himself.