Statutory Exceptions to the ‘Rule in
IntroductionThe ‘rule in
states that in criminal cases, the burden rests on the prosecutionto prove the guilt of the accused. This rule was made part of Irish law in
People (AG) vQuinn
Behind this rule lies the fundamental principle that the accused is presumed innocentuntil proven guilty. According to the presumption, it is for the prosecution to prove theaccused’s guilt, and not for the accused to prove their innocence. As John Mortimer’scharacter Rumpole of the Bailey put it, “The presumption is the Golden Thread which runsthrough the whole history of our criminal law, so whether a murder has been committed inthe Old Kent Road or on the way to Nova Lombaro, no man shall be convicted if there is areasonable doubt as to his guilt.”
The importance of the presumption of innocence in this jurisdiction is highlighted by the factthat it is protected by A38.1 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to a trial in duecourse of law. The presumption is also given international protection, by A6.2 of theEuropean Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated into Irish law by the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights Act 2003. Although the presumption is thus protected, in
, Viscount Sankey provided for certain exceptions to the rule that the prosecution must prove the accused’s guilt, that is to say, situations where the presumption of innocence may be restricted.Exceptions to the ‘Rule in
Woolmington v DPP
 A.C. 462.
 IR 366.
John Mortimer, ‘Rumpole and the Golden Thread,’
The Second Rumpole Omnibus