The Onerous Duty (Part 2)

Police officers who arrest a person on a criminal charge often decide what criminal charge(s) the accused will face. For very serious charges, such as murder or manslaughter, investigating officers will occasionally seek the advice of a prosecutor when deciding what criminal charge or charges should be laid.

The vast majority of criminal charges, however, are initiated by the police. That does not mean that other charges can not be laid later, subject only to advancing criminal charges within legally specified limitation periods. Generally, indictable offences do not have limitation periods, and therefore, even years after the fact they may be advanced.

Summary conviction charges generally have a limitation period of six months. If six months pass and the charge has not been laid it will be statute barred, meaning a failure to lay the charge before the expiration of the limitation period prevents a court from proceeding with the prosecution that was initiated outside of the limitation period.

Canadian Criminal Procedure by Patrick J Ducharme

The above is the an excerpt of Patrick J Ducharme’s book, Canadian Criminal Procedure, available at Amazon or in bulk through MedicaLegal Publishing along with Criminal Trial Strategies.

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