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SOC 3730 Lecture Notes - Reasonable Doubt, Ahold, Sept

Course Code
SOC 3730
Michelle Dumas

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Right to Speedy Trial
- Delays
o Especially when it comes to criminal cases
o Sometimes occurs because parties of defence and crown are trying to
negotiate a plea
- Causes
o In Michelle’s case, they did not have a court room. Different reasons.
- Charter Rights: Sec 11(b) (tried in reasonable time)
- R v. Askov (1990)
three men pointed a firearm denied bail, held in remand, november of 1983,
finally released on bail for 50 grand in may first prelim july 4 and trial started sept 2
1986 (three years later) they won because it was a long time crown appealed
social science research looked at outcomes based on how long they took to go to trial
they found that appeal had the lengthiest delays in North America longer the delay,
more hurtful it can be to someone who is convicted
- Problems
o Getting ahold of witnesses people move, people have other things
going on in their life
o Victims feel like they are not getting closure dragged through system
o Public can lose faith in the system
- SCC (4 factors… length of delay, explanation for the delay, waiver, prejudice to
the accused)
o 6-8 months is a good reasonable time for a delay
o must be due to justice system and not because of the defence
1. The length of delay
Time (can cause several problems)
2. Explanation for the delay
Crown & institutional (responsible for saying how the delay was justified
show there was not enough judges to oversee or not enough courtrooms, etc.)
3. Waiver
Freely given (that you are giving up right to a speedy trial then the delay is
justified if they waive that right)
4. Prejudice to the accused
Impact - hundred thousand criminal charges were currently stayed because the
cases were backlogged and taking too much time within two years SCC came back
to issue of what is a speedy trial
Return (SCC): time
R. v. Morin (1992) 14-15 months is not seen as excessive time and that
most courts should see cases within 8-10 in provincial courts and 10 months is not

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- Today criminal trials are very formal
o Cannot ask leading questions
o Cannot ask or make prejudicial comments
o No use of trickery to win case
The Criminal Trial
- Lack surprise no last minute witnesses or evidence are allowed. It all has to
be disclosed to the other party. Evidence to crown must be disclosed to
defence as well.
- Complex cases more need for rules to be upheld
- Judge’s role – make sure rules are followed judge could decide that certain
evidence or statements are not allowed and based on what they perceive to
be keeping case from being prejudicial and as impartial as possible
- Key Actors crown/pros defence lawyer the judge (jury sometimes, but
Canada has a 5 years or more in prison for need of jury… US can have jury at
Criminal Trial - Evidence
- Prosecutor
o Police
key component for pros need to collect evidence and do best
investigative job they can police reports are the crowns
primary evidence. They rely on police for all evidence, for
talking and interviewing people.
o Witnesses & victims
They are part of the evidence!
o Physical
o Experts
To verify or explain information about the case someone not
involved in case whatsoever but it’s their job in the real world
for whatever it happens to be (Forensic analysts, etc.)
- Defence
o Evidence
rely on themselves and the resources they have at their
disposal defence lawyers visit crime scene when police are
done to get an idea work for client any evidence given from
defense has been given by client
o Innocent narrative
presenting an innocent narrative so when they question
crown’s evidence or challenging it in someway, it is to fit client
into this innocent narrative my client is not responsible for
that and this is why. providing doubt for evidence presented by
the crown.

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Criminal Trial Evidence (Special)
- Fair trial
o Upholding rules and procedures of court
o We control evidence used in court or presented make sure that all
evidence presented in court is obtained lawfully
- Hearsay evidence
o Not allowed in court considered secondhand information accepted
as evidence in very rare circumstances hearsay does not allow for
cross-examination that person is not their to testify or answer
- Accused rights
- Cross-examination
o Both parties have the right to cross-examination
o Anything that is presented by defence can be cross-
examined/challenged by the crown
Criminal Trial Evidence (Special)
- Children (sexual assault)
o Away from accused - Behind screen or television in the courthouse
o children who testify in court do so under trained staff.
o Case by case basis
- Videotape evidence
o Evidence of a testimony is usually not allowed because it does not
allow for cross-examination
Opening Statements - Canada
- Procedure
- Crown
o Rules
Cannot provide personal opinions
Cannot say anything about winning or losing
Cannot anything that will excite the jury about the accused
o Impartiality
o Personal bias excluded in courts
o Promise of evidence same is true in the USA must be produced in
court and trial (same thing goes for witnesses and victims mentioned)
o Record cannot bring up prior record of the accused talking about
the charges right now
Opening Statements - Canada
- Defence
o Requirement does not have to have opening statement (typically do
if the case is more complex or serious)
o Innocence narrative typically say why their client is innocent
o Evaluate Crown’s case provide information on how they plan to
evaluate the crown’s case
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