Absolute Jurisdiction Offences: Section 553

Section 553 of the Code provides an extensive list of offences that are in the absolute jurisdiction of a Provincial Court Judge. If an accused is charged with one of these offences the accused is not entitled to a trial by jury. The accused is not permitted to have a trial in the Superior Court. The accused is not permitted to make any other selection for his trial. A Provincial Court Judge refers to a Judge appointed or authorized to act by or pursuant to an Act of the legislature of a Province or Territory by whatever title that person may be designated, who has the power and authority of two or more Justices of the Peace and includes the lawful deputy of that person.

If the accused is not charged with a 553 offence, he is generally entitled, as of right, to elect his mode of trial.2 Even after selecting his preferred trial court the accused may change that election within certain rules and re-elect a different court to try his case. The rules for this are provided in section 561 of the Code.

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