Legal Defences

Factual Dispute

The Legal Defence of Factual Dispute in Victoria

A factual dispute arises when the accused denies any involvement in the offence and/or disputes the prosecution's allegations in regard to the offence. The factual dispute may be used as a defence to any criminal charge in Victoria.

factual dispute | factual dispute definition | factual dispute law

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What Is Factual Dispute in Criminal Law?

To prove a criminal charge, the prosecution must adduce evidence and establish facts relevant to each element of the offence. Where the prosecution cannot prove an alleged fact beyond a reasonable doubt, any charge which relies on proof of that fact must fail. Thus, if the prosecution fails to prove an alleged fact and subsequently fails to prove an element of the offence, the accused must be found not guilty.

Strictly, a factual dispute in criminal law is not a ‘defence’, for the accused has no obligation to prove facts contrary to the prosecution case (but might chose to do so). A factual dispute arises when the accused denies any involvement in the offence and/or disputes the prosecution’s allegations in regard to the offence. Successfully disputing a fact may provide a full or partial defence to a charge. As such, the factual dispute defence is applicable to all criminal offences.

Factual disputes may arise for any number of reasons, such as when:

The identity of the accused is disputed;
The actions of the accused are disputed; or
The circumstances of the offence are disputed.
If the prosecution fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any necessary facts required to prove its case, or the accused adduces evidence which casts doubt on or disproves the allegations made by the prosecution, the factual dispute will be resolved in favour of the accused and result in a finding of not guilty. If the prosecution can adduce evidence which proves its allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, the factual dispute will not succeed.

Obtaining Legal Advice

It is always worth seeking legal advice if you dispute the facts of your case and the allegations made by the police. If you have been charged or are under investigation for allegedly committing a criminal offence, please contact our team at Sher Criminal Lawyers. We will help you achieve the best possible outcome by applying our extensive legal experience and expertise. One of our criminal law specialists will assess whether a factual dispute or any other defence is relevant to your case before planning a unique and calculated legal strategy. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations by way of Zoom, Facetime or in person at our Melbourne and Moorabbin offices.

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