2007/06/20

Burden of Proof

As I was reading UN drug advisor gets 4-year jail term, a question occurred to me. After two years here I have no idea how the criminal justice system works here. What exactly is the burden of proof in criminal trials here?

Obviously this short article, with almost no real information in it, is no way to judge the guilt or innocence of this man. But the story presented by his lawyer seems plausible. Is the standard of guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" like criminal trials in the US or just "a preponderance of the evidence" like in civil trials. Are defendants presumed innocent or is it up to the defendant to prove that they are innocent?

2 comments:

kochumanavalan said...

Without a legal background, it would be pretty hard to try and answer that. Sadly, we only know the little we're told. 2 poppy seeds and traces in his blood. What seems to be known is that he was working for the UN and was in fact doing his job destroying narcotics in Afghanistan.

Dallas Austin walked in with drugs, without too much of an explanation for it, and walked blithely out of his sentence. Prasad Bidappa comes in for a fashion show; claims the drugs found in his bag were planted, and a few days later flies home with a royal pardon. (Apart from which the Indian Consulate showed exemplary concern for its citizen by visiting him daily for the few days he spent in prison, and providing daily updates on his condition--not quite what the other Indians languishing in jails in the UAe are used to, but hey, let's just say their services improved for one brief, shining moment...and anyways, that's another story altogether, isn't it?)

One hopes that the ways of justice, even if unfathomable, might at least be consistent...

This is Dubai, folks; it's just too bad the Canadian in question is not a celebrity. Whose fault is that?

Marcus Aurelius said...

This is where one starts to wonder about the rest of the story.

I do not recall if poppy seed rolls are available in the UAE or not, but that is a problem over here. Dude goes to a coffee shop, orders a treat with poppy seeds and then goes in for a job related drug test, BOOM Dude tests positive for opiates.

I strongly suspect there is an aspect to this story we are not hearing.

Hehehehe, years ago I went to the Philippines on semester break without filing a travel plan document with the University. Another teacher shortly thereafter was fired for "not filing a travel plan". Colleagues were up in arms and the head of our department assured us there was more to the story and not to rile things up lest Marcus Aurelius lose his gratuity.