Next steps for those arrested and charged during G20

The large majority of those arrested and charged during the G20 were given a return date to the 2201 Finch Ave West courthouse in August.  There is a legal obligation to appear (or retain a lawyer to appear on your behalf by way of designation) – failure to do so may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

A number of things could happen at this court date which is, essentially, an administrative appearance.  The Crown may decide to withdraw or stay charges against an accused person.  This decision is at the sole discretion of the Crown.  The court does not have any authority to dismiss a charge at that point.  The Crown may also offer entry into a diversion program.  These programs require an accused to meet certain requirements and, upon successful completion, the Crown will withdraw or stay the charges (again, entry into such a program is at the sole discretion of the Crown).

Those persons whom the Crown has decided to proceed against will, ideally, be provided with a disclosure package.  An accused person has the right to know all the evidence the Crown has against them prior to trial.  This includes officer notes, videos, photographs of injuries and weapons, etc.  It is possible that no disclosure is available on this date, or some disclosure is available.  Certain items, such as videos, may require a special request.

The court will provide a second administrative court and invite accused persons to review disclosure in the interim.  This process will continue until a decision is made on how to proceed with the case.

An accused has the absolute right to a trial and has the benefit of the presumption of innocence.  At a trial, the Crown will have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an accused committed the offence for which they were charged.  An accused may also decide to plead guilty.  A guilty plea can be done quite quickly while a trial can be many months away.

For those whom the Crown is proceeding against, it is best to retain a lawyer.  Many accused persons have counsel hired as soon as the first appearance while many wait until they receive their disclosure before making such a decision.  For those who cannot afford counsel, legal aid may be available.

Tags:

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply