When police are prosecuted under the Police Services Act, they are entitled to a higher standard of proof than other professionals, the court said in Jacobs v. Ottawa (Police Service).

In a decision some lawyers are calling “troubling,” the court said the issue has already been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada, and overturned a Divisional Court ruling that declined to give police a special standard of proof in hearings at the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.

“The decision only serves to further inoculate police from appropriate scrutiny,” says Ottawa criminal lawyer Michael Spratt.

While the standard of proof in criminal law is to establish facts beyond reasonable doubt, civil courts, including administrative tribunals, rely on proving claims on balance of probabilities. But Jacobs confirms there is a third, higher standard of proof for police that requires prosecutors to prove their case on “clear and convincing evidence.”

Read Yamri Taddese’s full story: Canadian Lawyer

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