I am not a lawyer, but, then again, the topic I am discussing today is not about legal stuff but political stuff. That is, folks may say that there is a judicial process or that the burden of proof has not been proven yet so we can't do x. But when it comes to political decisions, one does not need proof beyond a reasonable doubt. One does not even, dare I say it, need due process in many cases.
Let me throw out a few less than hypothetical examples.
Example 1: Someone comes to the Minister of National Defence and says that the Chief of Defence Staff, the top person in the armed forces, is hitting on subordinates. The MND does not need a full investigation to decide that maybe having a guy who is violating the various policies on sexual misconduct should continue to lead the military during a time where addressing sexual misconduct was one of the highest priorities. The job of oversight is not about only making decisions after investigations have been completed.
Example 2: India is suspected of assassinating a Canadian on Canadian soil. It is then indicted for trying to do the same just a bit to the south--trying to kill someone in the US. One does not need to wait for the legal process to play out to re-think an Indo-Pacific strategic that is partially predicated on India being a reliable partner in the effort to contain China* or what not.
The commonality in these two cases is the use of legal proceedings as a dodge from talking about or actually changing policies in light of new information. Sure, there is no certainty about the new info--there are reports, accusations, but not confirmed stuff, but, of course, there rarely is certainty.** So, new information should change the calculations even if the new information is not 100% certain.
To be as blunt as possible, one does not make defence or foreign policy based on the decisions of courts most of the time. While legal stuff matters--whether a particular option is legal or not, etc--it does not determine entirely what a country should be doing. If, say, India's populist government appears to be acting in ways that are contrary to international law and violating Canadian/American sovereignty, then one needs to start adapting the old strategy (no matter how new/old it is) to account for that.
The larger point, I guess, is this: we make decisions all the time based on available info and on a variety of calculations. We do not apply a burden of proof equivalent to what is required for a prosecution for many reasons. Promotions are not as life-changing as imprisonment, so we don't have the same burden of proof--we don't need to know for certain that certain nominees to the Supreme Court have engaged in sexual harassment or assault to decide to find someone in whom we can have greater trust. We can take into account accusations that are yet to be proven when thinking about extending someone who is charge of the entire military because no one is entitled to that job. We need to stop treating high office like folks are entitled to it and that we need absolute certainty before booting people. Same goes for, say, security clearances--suspicion can be enough to deny a security clearance and thus jobs that require such clearances. Which is why it should be easier to boot people from the armed forces if they are suspected of being white supremacist.
We need to take seriously the burden of proof when the state is taking away someone's freedom. We can have a lower burden of proof for many other endeavors, including revising foreign policy strategies.
* Folks can claim that Indo-Pacific strategies are not aimed at containing China, and I have to loudly scoff. If that is not what the strategy is for, then why the urgency? And if it is not for that, then we need a China containment strategy as well.
** Not to mention that many trials do not really resolve things because the defendant had crappy lawyers or terrific ones, that the prosecution did terrific or made a hash of the case. So, again, big policy decisions can't ride on juries and judges, etc.