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Canada (158,169)
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SOC209H5 (126)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Notes

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Paula Maurutto

Griffiths – Chapter 6: The Criminal Courts October 26, 2012 Key Terms Hybrid Offence: an offence that can be preceded summarily or by indictment – a decision always made by the Crown Preliminary hearing: a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal trial Judicial interim release (bail): release by a judge or JP of a person who has been charged with a criminal offence pending a court appearance  With the exception of Nunavut, there are four levels of courts that deal with criminal cases: provincial/territorial courts, provincial superior courts (trials), provincial appellate courts (appeals), and the Supreme Court of Canada  Responsible for imposing an appropriate sentence on those who are convicted, ensuring that the rights of accused persons are protected  Judicial independence refers to the principle that citizens have the right to have their cases tried by tribunals that are fair, impartial, and immune form political interference  Impaired driving and common assault top the list of most frequently heard offences in adult criminal courts during 2006/2007  Crimes against person and crimes against property are among the most common cases heard in Adult Criminal Court Provincial Court System  In every province and territory there are two levels: provincial and superior, except Nunavut  Provincial courts are the lowest level where nearly all criminal cases are begun and disposed of o Judges appointed by the provinces o Hear cases under the Youth Criminal Justice Act o May include family courts and small claims courts o Judges in these courts now hear increasingly serious offences Federal Court System  Federal court is the court of last resort (Supreme Court of Canada) and located in Ottawa o Established under the Constitution Act (1867), which authorized Parliament to establish a general court of appeal for Canada o The governor in council appoints the nine judges which must be superior court judges or lawyers with at least 10 years’ standing at the bar in a province/territory o Decisions are final and cannot be appealed o Two other federal courts are the Federal Court (Trial Court and Court of Appeal – hears all cases concerning matters of federal law) and the Tax Court Where does Judges come from?  Judges at the provincial level are appointed by provincial governments  Judges of the superior courts are appointed by the federal government Specialized Provincial Courts  Recent trend in Canada is that the provincial courts are becoming more specialized (domestic violence, drug, Aboriginal)  Intent is to move away from an adversarial approach and focus on treatment intervention and rehabilitation  Atmosphere in specialized courts is generally less formal, emphasis on dialogue  Community courts assume a problem-solving approach with offenders o Link them to social services and treatment resources, not criminalize them o Substance abuse, mental health, homelessness  Mental health courts attempt to address the needs of persons with mental illness who become involved in the justice system o Provide forum to address pre-trial issues of the accused person’s fitness to stand trial o Usually also includes substance abuse issues  Domestic violence courts are designed to specifically hear criminal law charges relating to domestic violence cases o Early
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