Prima Facie – What is it?

For the benefit of the Prime Minister here are some handy definitions.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines prima facie as it applies to evidence as "based on the first impression".

Simon Moore, Crown Solicitor for Auckland "If the evidence is sufficiently strong to establish a prima facie case, the test for prima facie is: If the evidence is credible, could the tribunal, be it a jury or a judge, find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?"

Scott Optican, associate professor, Auckland University Faculty of Law – "A prima facie case means there is enough evidence so that a jury, instructed properly as to the law, could find on the facts that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Gary Gotlieb, president of the Auckland District Law Society "Prima facie means there is a sufficient case for the accused to answer. But the test for prima facie is far less than the test for reasonable doubt."

Mmmmm-kay so the Prime Ministers version;

Prime Minister Helen Clark on Newstalk ZB "Finding something as prima facie is a completely different matter from saying there's any evidence that would ever stand up in a court."

is really just tosh and bullshit.


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