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Crim Class 10.doc

Course Code
LAWS 2301
Ronald Saunders

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Criminal Justice System November 21, 2011
Duties and realities of work
Accountability mechanisms; Romeo
Roles, issues, controls
Plea Bargaining
Types, definitions
Benefits given
Final essay: Plea Bargaining
Duties and Principles
Act as “Minister of Justice”/”servant of justice”/officer of the court
Not there to convict but to find the truth
Exclude notions of winning/losing
Temple of justice
Assist court in understanding facts
Have to give all evidence even if it hurts own case
Don’t give personal opinion
Present in straightforward, nonbiased way
Assist in understanding law/rules
Convict guilty/acquit innocent
Be independent: stand apart from rich and poor and in-betweens
Don’t take interest in outcome of case
Personal, political, private considerations = obligation
Act on behalf of society
American D.A. is very political and works with police
Presumption of innocence
Administrative pressures
Not enough prosecutors
Need to be efficient
Prosecutorial values more managerial than adversarial or justice orientated
Administrative efficiencies is the goal
Often assume guilt and proceed
Social bonds/trust important
Need a good relationship with defence and judge
Cant fight everything in trial system
Part of bureaucracy
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Quick and efficient disposition
Implications around training
Great deal of discretion and little accountability; secretive process
Decision making is not public
Very few guidelines how they make decisions
Victims feel excluded
Some high profile cases the victim in consulted (Holmolka)
Accountability Mechanisms
Accountability of AG to legislature (Attorney General)
Accountability of Crown to AG
Some offences require AG to intervene (hate crime, child cases)
Very little interference from AG
McGillivray article (text)
Text page 204 and 210
Limit to direction AG can give. They can issue broad advice but Prosecutor has
right to make up own mind
Accountability to individual citizen
May think it was unfair (hybrid- charged as indictable instead of summary- why?)
2 remedies
Civil suit (malicious prosecution)
Charter rights (violated)
Both are hard to pursue
Nelles case- sued for malicious prosecution. Before this case it was assumed
prosecutors had immunity and couldn’t be sued. Not total immunity now but hard
to sue
AG had absolute immunity
To sue prosecutor, need deliberate and malicious intent (very difficult to
find/prove); cant sue if prosecutor is just stupid
Accountability to the courts
Courts give prosecutors wide discretion
Prosecutor has power to stay charges until final disposition
Courts have that power too (to stay charges)
If there has been a charter violation
Abuse of process
Courts don’t want to be involved with bad behaviour
Standard is high when Crown motives are questioned
Romeo case – achieve accountability through courts
If delay in trial then rights have been violated and judge can stay charges
Role of private prosecutions
Dowson case
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