Courts and Prosecution
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What is the principle of judicial independence?
citizens have the right to have their cases tried by tribunals that are fair, impartial and immune from political inteference
What are the rates for property crimes?
roughly equal number of property and violent offences
What is the most frequent type of case?
impaired driving and common asault (11% each)
What is the rate of cases for homicide?
What is the median elapse time from 1st to last court appearance?
237 days in 06/07- increasing rate
What offence takes longer?
Homicide 450 days
What is the shortest type of case?
breach of probations (106 days)
What is the average court apperances?
4 to 6 in last 10 years
Why are some of the reasons for the avg court apperances?
- Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- more cases with multiple charges
What are the levels in the Provincial Court System?
- Two levels
- Superior- a) trial b) appeals
What is the lowest level of courts in Canada?
Which level of courts in Canada hears most of the cases?
Does the provincial court have juries?
What types of cases are seen in the Provincial Courts?
- There is more and more cases (due to backlog)
What types of courts are there in the Provincial level?
- specialized courts at this level
- examples: drug, domestic violence, aboriginal courts
What is the highest level in the Provincial Court System
The Provincial Superior Courts
What is the % of cases heard by the Provincial Superior Courts?
Does the Provincial Superior Courts have jury?
What are the levels of the Provincial Superior Courts?
- 1) Trials. Serious Cases. Appeals from lower court
- 2) Appeals from superior trials
What the last resort court?
The Supreme Court of Canada
When was the Supreme Court of Canada Established?
under the Constitutuion Act 1867
What types of cases does the Supreme Court of Canada hears?
- cases from all over the country
- complex issues
How many judges are in the Supreme Court?
- 9 judges are appointed from provincial superior courts
- 3 must be from Quebec?
How come 3 judges must be chosen from Quebec for the Supreme Court of Canada?
Because they are trained in civil law
What are the criticism of the Supreme Court?
- for engaging in social activism on one hand and being deterential to law enforcement on the other
- criticism of court decisons that it perceives have undermined anti-terrorism effort
What is common law?
law found in statutes ( Criminal Code) and judicial precendents
What is stare decisis?
hierachy in following decisions
What are the basis of stare decisis?
- the higher courts set precedents that the lower courts must follow
- like cases should be treated alike: same rulebook for everyone, even though the is room for judicial interpretation
What are the principles of stare decisis?
- presumption of innocente: defendant deemed innocent until proven guilty
- Crown bears burder of proof
- Doli in capax: not criminally responsible under 12
- Insanity: no one criminally responsible if incapable of knowing act was wrong
- Attempts are crime
What are the types of classification of offences?
- 1) summary convictions
- 2) indictable convictions
- 3) Hybrid
What is summary convictions?
- less serious offences
- must begin within 6 months
- provincial court judge sitting alone
What is indictable offences?
- serious offences
- may carry offences prison sentences of 14 years or more
- no time limit
- no specific court..depending on the offences
What is hybrid offences?
- in between, specific in C.C can be either
- crown decides whether to proceed as summary or indictable
- depends on the seriousness and delays
What are the two elements of a jury trial
What is trial by jury?
- tries the facts and determines guilt, as does the judge
- must be unanimous to convict
- dont give reasons for verdict, whereas a judge does
- judge instructs jury on the law
What is the prosecution process?
- Laying infromation and charge
- Reject of approved, then charges laid
What is diversion?
programs designed to keep offenders from being prosecuted and convicted in the CJS
What is laying information and a charge?
police lay infromation on offender before justice of peace and waits to be rejected or approved
what is the rate of charged being laid?
in violent or property crimes..charges not laid in 1/3
What are some features of legal aid?
- began in 1970s
- run by non-profit socities in each province
- BC: legal service society
what are the 3 forms of legal aid?
- public defence
- mixed model
What is judicare?
private lawyers paid by the society on a fee for service basis
What is public defence?
salries, staff lawers, paid on a salary basis
what is the mixed model for legal aid?
usually employs a public defender model in large, urban centres and judicare model in rural areas
What are the contentious issues for legal aid?
- cost : BC gov. controbutes $62.7 million a year
What about the competence of Legal Aid representation?
- research shows no significant different between types of aid
- private lawyers are more sucessful(46%) than legal aid lawyers (28%) in obtaining an acquittal
What is arrignment and plea?
- takes place early in the process
- charges are read in open court
- accused enters in plea: guilty or not
- pleading not guilty does not mean innocence
What is plea bargaining?
An agreement whereby an accused pleads guilty in excchange for the promise of a benefit (reduced sentence, charges, etc)
What is the role of presecutors?
excludes any notion of winning or losing: his fuction is a matter of public duty
what do the prosecutors do?
- prosecute for indictable offences and summary offences
- provide legal advice to stakeholders
- examine cases/documents sent by police, etc
What is prosecutorial discretion?
warrant advice, charge approval/denial, timing of the charge, staying proceedings, withdraw charges, plea bargaining
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