Arraignments and Appearances

The initial appearance or “arraignment” may be before a Justice or a provincial court Judge. The purpose of the arraignment is to formally present the allegations to the accused. The accused is usually called forward, the charge or charges are read to him and he is asked if he is prepared to enter a plea to the charge(s). Before a jury is empaneled, or in the case of a trial by Judge alone, before the case may begin, an accused must be arraigned.
Continue reading “Arraignments and Appearances”

Appearances in Court

Pursuant to section 650 of the Code the accused has the right and duty to attend at all times and for all aspects of his trial. In certain limited circumstances the court may interfere with the right of the accused to be present. Subsection 650(2) allows the court to exclude an accused from any proceeding against his or her will in the limited circumstances where the court causes the accused to be removed and to be kept out of the court because the accused is interrupting the proceedings, or, if the accused is unfit to stand trial and the court is satisfied that failure to do so might have an adverse effect on the mental condition of the accused. Also, the court may permit the accused to be out of court during the whole or any part of his trial on such conditions as the court considers proper. “Present” means physically present and able to hear and see the proceedings.
Continue reading “Appearances in Court”

Criminal Procedure: The Rules of the Game

Subsection 482(1) of the Code authorizes every Superior Court to make rules not inconsistent with a Federal statute. Subsection 482(2) provides a similar power to Provincial courts, subject to the approval of the Lt. Governor-in-Council of the Province. Sections 169 and 170 of the Courts of Justice Act create the Criminal Rules Committee and a procedure for enacting rules related to criminal proceedings. These are the rules permitted by section 482 of the Code. The Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice in Criminal Proceedings apply to all trials in the Ontario Court of Justice, often referred to as the Provincial Court.
Continue reading “Criminal Procedure: The Rules of the Game”

Game Plan: The Theory of Your Case

Ineffective trial counsel may unnecessarily complicate the facts of a trial by attempting to focus on every minute detail. Effective trial counsel, instead, understand the overall case in a way that permits counsel to focus on only the most important facts. This amounts to seeing the proverbial forest, despite its number of trees. The big picture is, in fact, the overall picture. It requires the development of an overall theory of one’s case. It amounts to your client’s story. Reduced to its most basic element, trial advocacy is the ability to effectively tell your client’s story. The story should lead to the ability to say at the end of the trial, “If you accept this version of events, then you must decide in our favour.” When the story is complete, when all the evidence has been heard, the end result should be victory. Continue reading “Game Plan: The Theory of Your Case”

Criminal Trials – fiction vs reality

Television programs and movies portraying trial lawyers at work invariably focus on the most entertaining aspect of trial advocacy. They condense into one or two hours the work of the trial lawyer before a Judge or a Judge and jury confronting a witness or presenting an interesting, witty, insightful argument. They tend to focus much less attention on the tedious and demanding preparation required to conduct a skillful crossexamination or a persuasive argument. But, the foundation of every effective cross-examination or oral presentation is thorough preparation- preparation that includes thinking and re-thinking the best methods and best words to use for the specific case.

Continue reading “Criminal Trials – fiction vs reality”