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Trials Archives

Choosing a Trial

After you have been arrested you will receive a date to appear in court.  The first thing that will happen is that you will receive a copy of the "disclosure".  This is all of the evidence that the police have gathered against you.  Once you have reviewed all of the disclosure with your lawyer you will then need to decide whether to plead guilty or set a trial date.  In most cases, the trial will take place in provincial court and will be set anywhere from about 8 to 18 months into the future depending on the length of the trial and the complexity of the issues.  However, in some more serious cases, such as a sexual assault, you will be able to choose the court where the trial will take place.  You can choose to have the trial in provincial court, superior court to be tried by judge alone or superior court to be tried by judge and jury.  If the trial in the superior court you will also having the option of a preliminary inquiry which is held in provincial court.  At a preliminary inquiry your lawyer will have the ability to cross-examine some or all of the witnesses to test their evidence in preparation for trial.  Which venue is best in a particular case is dependent on a number of factors and is a topic which should be explored in detail with your lawyer.

The Right to a Trial in the Official Language of You Choice

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, the Criminal Code of Canada allows you to proceed to trial in the official language of your choice (s. 530(1)). This right guarantees an accused person the right to have a trial in the French language or the English language and the proceedings would include a prosecutor and a judge (and jury if applicable) who can speak the official language of choice. The Criminal Code also allows for bilingual trials. For example, it is possible to have some witnesses testify in English while others testify in French.

To have a preliminary inquiry or not, that is the question

As recently as a few months ago, the Attorney General for Ontario was in the news calling for the elimination of preliminary inquiries. The concern from the Attorney General was for court delays and this elimination, he claimed, would help speed up trials in criminal proceedings. Many individuals and organizations have spoken out against this suggestion and have argued the important role that preliminary inquiries have in the criminal justice system, including an article written by Ian Carter of Bayne Sellar Ertel Carter.

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Trials Archives | Ottawa Criminal Law Blog