CCRM308 – Week 3: The Players – the Crown
- Crown Policy Manual – all Crowns are supposed to know and follow
- There is a proposition that Crowns do not win or lose a case; they are quasi-State to
present the facts to the jury. They are neutral; “Bouche standard”
• Lawyers as hyper-competitive – can they really de-personalize the cases?
• Sometimes prosecutors are so zealous that perhaps they fight for convictions
even for innocent people (documentary)
- High conviction rates means a lot of skill – very persuasive, confidence, excellent
communication, forceful and strong trials, etc.
- Starting point: “I’m a Crown, I don’t win or lose”
- The Crown is the State, the jury will see you as having more authority while the defence
is thought of as slippery; because of this, the law sets guidelines as to what the Crown
can get away with vs what the defence can get away with
- Some rules of evidence are tilted to the benefit of the doubt/defence to prevent wrongful
- Crowns, in sexual assault cases where complainant is related to the accused, they will
ask the accuse to testify and ask them “do you find your ______ attractive”
• “Yes” = convicted / “NO” = convicted
• It seems either way that they will be convicted, but how is that question even
relevant?? All questions the accused are asked have relevance to the case
It is NOT relevant, and furthermore, it is prejudicial.
• Cases involving this particular question are now being re-tried because of the
irrelevancy (Court of Appeal)
- You cannot withhold evidence from the defence; disclosure obligations (not the same in
- Can the Crown suggest that because the accused had disclosure, they now have a
perfect alibi for everything, since they had time to study the evidence?
• Cases involving this question are also being re-tried (Court of Appeal)
• Again, certain lines cannot be crossed by the Crown
- Crown: Who are they usually dealing with? Victims and Police • Victims: This poses a higher level of pressure: younger victims, defenseless or
helpless victims, violated sexually, emotionally, physically, cases with real
damage, etc. that might make it harder to de-personalize cases
Ex: the mother of a murdered girl sends cards to the Crown who helped
prosecute the killer
• It is much easier to be detached and objective with victimless cases such as
• Police: Crowns have to work favourably with police and maintain good contact –
they are your source of information and relationships are important down the
road; police can also talk to your boss, etc.
They are supposed to be armslength
Police lay the charge, and the Crown should assess the case and decide
whether they should go forward as a separate investigation
If charges are dropped by the complainant, the Crown at this point can
choose whether or not to withdraw these charges, but they typically will
let the charges stand
• Ex: DOMESTICS: history of recanting, etc.
• Overall: fairness to the public (public interest); to help people in ways other than
Impaired driving: changes in the law that came about m