23 May 2019
It is a fundamental feature of the common law criminal justice system that a complainant can be telling the truth and that the accused person is still not guilty. As such, it is possible for a criminal assault to occur and for the person who carried out the assault to be acquitted.
This is because a criminal trial is not just about what was done to the victim but what was the state of mind of the accused person.
An example to illustrate this: an armed police officer shoots and kills a person because the officer believes that the person has a weapon and is about to attack someone with it. If the deceased person has no weapon and was simply fooling around, the officer has made a mistake: but that honest mistake means that he or she is not guilty of murder.
The full article appeared on stuff.co.nz.