Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

More complex than expected, phrase is made up of words commonly used, but together have a specific ‘legal meaning’ in law. A reasonable doubt is not imaginary or frivolous, nor based upon sympathy or prejudice, rather it is based on reason and common sense which must logically be derived from the evidence or absence of evidence. A reasonable doubt does not involve proof to an absolute certainty. Nor is it helpful to describe proof beyond a reasonable doubt simply as proof to a "moral certainty”, as well, the word "doubt” should not be qualified other than by way of the adjective "reasonable”. Per Lamer C.J. and Sopinka, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major JJ.: R. v. Lifchus, 1997 CanLII 319 (SCC), 1997, 3 SCR 320, <> retrieved on 2013-08-31