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Lecture 4

SOC 3750 Lecture 4: Week 4 Role of the Crown

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SOC 3750
Patrick Parnaby

SOC3730 Week 4: Role of the Crown Crown role Courtroom Crown prosecutors, crown attorneys; work on behalf of the state. Represent govt.; present the states case. Play pivotal role in criminal court. Most of the work happens in court (i.e. trials, negotiating pleas, releasing people) Knowledge Rely on police for information. Their case is determined by the worth of work done by the police, if police do a great job, they can use this information and do a great job in court. Working knowledge of criminal court is important to have as a crown; decisions made by the SCC that affect Charter rights, rule of law Burden of proof Up to Crown attorney to prove that the person is guilty o Beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court o Reason Preventing the conviction of an innocent person. Better to let guilty people go free Prime Duty (Canadian Bar Association) Not to gain convictions; to enforce the law, to maintain and administer justice; being able to be an extra measure to evaluate police conduct Canadian Bar Association The lawyers prime duty is not to seek a conviction Grossman (1969) Pressure convictions Prosecutors under pressure to obtain convictions and to gain as many convictions as possible. Some have said they have a dilemma participating in this role and finding a person guilty as charged. Two considerations o Credibility Maintaining administrative credibility is finding people guilty. If someone is found not guilty, question of credibility o Confidence Known what youre doing, knowing how to apply the law Caseload pressure Prosecutors withdraw cases or drop charges due to too much time; or possibility they wont be convicted. Not taking things into consideration, more people moving through the system Screening Screening leverage Focus on solid cases, especially where its believed the person is guilty. No merit or no conviction possible, they drop these cases. Police have much discretion, they do not arrest and charge all people even with evidence of crime; prosecutors use similar discretion. Provincial variation o BC, PQ, NB Prosecutors go through cases and decide if charges are warranted before police lay charges. Police rely on prosecutors to lay charges for them. This is why there are higher conviction rates in these provinces.
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