Monday, September 22, 2008

The face of acquittal

There is a distinct expression that an accused evokes in her face upon recieving a verdict of acquittal in a criminal case.
This morning, my clients-spouses were acquitted of the crime of Batas Pambansa No. 22, the bouncing checks law.
This law punishes the issuance of bad, bum checks--checks that are unfunded.
They were naturallly estatic, afer being read the decision.
They issued checks that were dishonored for the reason: account closed.
But the court acquitted them because there was not enough proof that my clients were notified of the dishonor of their checks.
Notice of dishonor to the issuer of the check is indespensable under BP 22.
The issuer must be notified of the check dishonor.
If there is a doubt as to whether the issuer was notified, the issuer-accused will be acquitted.
I had told my clients beforehand conviction won't lie as they were not notified of the dishonor of the checks they issued.
The private complainant sent the notice of dishonor, contained in a demand letter, via registered mail.
The registry return card, however bore a signature other than that of my clients.
A registry return card is a hard paper attached to the mail which is signed by the addresseee (to confirm receipt) and returned to the sender via mail.
On brief cross examination, I had asked the private complainant whether the signature in the registry return card was the signature of any of the accused.
The complainant's answer was: "I'm not sure".
Reasonable doubt.

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