Thursday, September 23, 2021

Viray: Demurrer to evidence

In and Out of Court

IN LAWYER'S language, demurrer to evidence is actually a motion to dismiss. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Meaning, it is the duty of the prosecution to present evidence to show that the accused committed the crime. If the evidence is weak, the accused has a right to file a demurrer to evidence. If granted, it is considered an acquittal.

So Senator Leila de Lima is acquitted in Criminal Case No. CCN-17-166 thru a demurrer. When accused is acquitted, there is no appeal so it is final.

So even without presentation of defense evidence, de Lima was declared innocent of the charge that she was involved in drug trafficking where she was also charged with conspiracy with co-accused and drug lords.

As lawyers know, conspiracy is not presumed.

Conspiracy is not presumed. Like the physical acts constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. While conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence, for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, all taken together, however, the evidence must be strong enough to show the community of criminal design. For conspiracy to exist, it is essential that there must be a conscious design to commit an offense. Conspiracy is the product of intentionally on the part of the cohorts.

It is necessary that a conspirator should have performed some overt act as a direct or indirect contribution to the execution of the crime committed. The overt act may consist of active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to his co-conspirators by being present at the commission of the crime or by exerting a moral ascendancy over the other co-conspirator.

It appears none of their acts was proven.

Besides, where is the body of the crime (volume of drugs)? Where is the money trail that would show payment?

After four years, de Lima obtained a painful victory, a victory nonetheless. But she is still detained for the two other related pending cases.

Demurrer to evidence is nothing but a motion to dismiss.


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