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What is an Alibi?

Updated on January 16, 2010

An alibi, in law, is the defense that, at the time of the commission of a crime, the accused was at another place.

The word alibi is Latin for "elsewhere".

If such a fact is established sufficiently to raise a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury, it is a good defense, except for crimes committed through agents or others for whose acts the accused is responsible.

In all cases where the presence of the accused at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission is essential to his guilt, the burden is upon the prosecution to prove such presence beyond a reasonable doubt. By interposing the defense of alibi, the accused does not assume the burden of proving that he was elsewhere as a prerequisite to establishing his innocence.

The burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on the whole case, including the issue of alibi, always rests upon the prosecution. The burden, if any, upon the accused is that of going forward with the evidence by offering some proof of the alibi.

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