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CRIM 2652 (38)
Anna Pratt (14)

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CRIM 2652
Anna Pratt

The Courts: Overview In the Bedford case, “the harms identified by the courts below are grossly disproportionate to the deterrence of community disruption that is the object of the law.” 1. Overall structure of Court Process: Main areas of court process: 1. Pretrial 2. Trial 3. Sentencing 5 Key players 1. Victims/witness 2. Police 3. Crown prosecutor 4. Defence counsel 5. Judge 2 Main goals of the courts 1. Do ‘justice’ 2. Protect the rights of individuals in conflict with the law Key Role in the CJS 1. Mete out justice independently (from government and politics) 2. Monitoring function 3. Hear criminal cases and appeals Classification of offences 1. Summary conviction offences 2. Indictable offences Consequences of how the offence is designated 1. How the police proceed 2. Options available to Crown re: how and where a case may be tried 3. Which level of court will try the case Summary conviction offences • Less serious offence ad less serious maximum penalty ie: food fraud, causing a disturbance, trespassing at night, interference with the saving of a wrecked vessel. • Tried by provincial court judge sitting alone • Tried within 6 months of when the offence took place • Most numerous type of offence but take up little time Indictable offences • Most serious offences, i.e: homicide, treason, sexual assault, armed robbery, dangerous driving • Can be tried in different courts depending on seriousness of offence and preference of the accused • More serious penalties including life imprisonment • More serious intrusions against those charged ie: pre trial detention, photographing, and fingerprinting for permanent record • Increased protections for the accused Hybrid (dual) offences • Crown has the choice to proceed summarily or by indictment • Absolute discretion of the crown • Can change at any time before trial begins • Examples: assault, theft, fraud under $1000, impaired driving • To allow flexibility and fairness to tailor to individual cases/offenders however also creates uncertainty and inconsistency Jurisdiction (authority, influence) • Legal authority of a court to hear a criminal matter and to apply a penalty upon conviction • No jurisdiction= judgement voided • Crimes committed in Canada • Territorial jurisdiction: courts do not have jurisdiction over offences that occur mainly or wholly in another province. Provincial and territorial courts (Lower courts) – provinces, and territories. Exclusive jurisdiction over: • Provincial offences • Summary conviction offences • Hybrid offences (prosecuted as summary conviction) • Offences specified by s. 553 (may be indictable or hybrid) Provincial superior courts (Higher courts) • Judges appointed and paid for by the federal government • Hear more serious indictable offences • May also hear APPEALS of summary conviction trials at provincial or territorial courts Top of hierarchy: Provincial courts of appeal • Hear only appeals of criminal and non-criminal cases • Decisions are binding on all courts in that province Supreme court of Canada • Highest court in the land • Hears only appeals from provincial courts of appeal • Decisions are binding on all courts Key Players: Role of CrownAttorney (lawer prosecutor) • Backed by/represent (power of) the state • Prosecutions in the name of the public –rather it is undertaken for crimes which are seen to be offences against the crown or the public. • Broad discretionary authority—to ensure that these agents of the law can operate freely without being answerable to political masters. So crowns have considerable discretion in their jobs. • Dual role (contradictory?) • Minister of justice (impartial)
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