Define intimidating witness
As the offence almost inevitably involves the word of one person against another it is vitally important that someone accused of such an offence is skilfully and ably represented.
It is also important that all surrounding circumstances of the alleged intimidation are thoroughly investigated- often the offence does not occur in a vacuum and investigation of extraneous evidence such as text messages, CCTV and other potential evidential background should be undertaken.
In AG’s reference no 1 of 2004 the court held that this provision of the Act was not contrary to article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights as it was both justified and proportionate for a reverse burden of proof to be imposed.
This was said to be even where the reverse burden goes to an ingredient of the offence rather than a special defence. So one cannot have a general defence such as this if all the elements of the offence have been proved.
The maximum penalty for aggravated intimidation of a witness is 12 years in prison and a fine of up to 0,000.
Intimidating a witness also includes inflicting or attempting to inflict any harm or injury prior to testimony or expected testimony.
Retaliation against a witness is a class 3 felony, with penalties including 4 to 12 years in prison and up to 0,000 in fines.
Bribing a juror involves offering or agreeing to offer money or any other benefit upon a juror to influence the juror's vote or opinion.
This of course imposes a reverse legal burden on the defendant.
So the defendant must prove this defence on the balance of probabilities- so that is more likely than not, this is a lower burden than that imposed upon the defendant to prove the rest of the offence- they have the burden of making the jury sure or in layman’s terms beyond reasonable doubt.