One of the most essential characteristics of an experienced criminal defence lawyer is the ability to negotiate on behalf of their client. If you are facing a criminal charge, negotiating a fair and proper resolution can have immeasurable benefits to you and to your loved ones. First of all, negotiations can help avoid an unnecessary trial with all the anxiety and stress that accompanies it. Secondly, it can reduce the seriousness of the charges; lessen the potential penalty; and, result in having the charges withdrawn.
The first step in negotiations is called a crown pre-trial. A crown pre-trial is a meeting between defence counsel and crown counsel. The meeting is typically held after initial disclosure has been provided, and its purpose is for the lawyers to discuss various issues relating to the case. The issues discussed during a crown pre-trial will vary depending on the case. Some of the more common issues are outstanding disclosure issues, trial time estimates, pre-trial motions, admissions, and other legal issues with the case.
In some cases, a crown pre-trial is an early opportunity to discuss resolution of the case. An experienced criminal defence lawyer may take this opportunity to raise potential issues with the prosecution evidence or raise a potential defence that undermines the strength of the case. Alternatively, a criminal lawyer may provide background information about the defendant that will change the prosecutions assessment of the case. These early negotiations can lead to favourable resolutions such as an agreement to proceed with lesser charges or withdrawal of the charges all together.
In other cases, where the initial negotiations do not result in a favourable resolution, there may be a pre-hearing conference. A pre-hearing conference is often referred to as a judicial pre-trial. Judicial pre-trials are held in chambers between crown counsel, defence counsel, and a presiding judge. The prosecution will provide the judicial pre-trial judge with a synopsis prior to the hearing. Sometimes, a criminal defence lawyer will also provide additional material to the pre-trial judge in advance of the meeting.
The judicial pre-trial will cover a number of issues including: any outstanding disclosure issues; pre-trial applications; constitutional motions; the number of anticipated witnesses; any admissions the parties are prepared to make; other potential legal issues; estimated trial time; and, resolution of the case. There are a wide assortment of legal issues that can arise during a judicial pre-trial. A prepared and experienced criminal defence lawyer is well-equipped to protect your rights and take strong positions on these issues.
In some of the more complex trials and lengthy proceedings, the Criminal Code allows for the appointment of a case management judge. Section 551.3 of the Criminal Code sets out wide authority of a case management judge. A case management judge can set schedules and impose deadlines and hear guilty pleas. Section 551.3(1)(g) of the Criminal Code authorizes the case management judge to hold hearings on issues that relate to: disclosure; admissibility of evidence; expert witnesses; and, severance.
An experienced criminal defence lawyer will help you understand the procedure involved in pre-trial negotiations, explain your defences, and work diligently to get the best outcome possible in your case. Pre-trial negotiations are an important part of the case that can have a significant impact on how the case proceeds to trial or to resolution.
Are you involved in pre-trial negotiations? If so, you should contact a criminal defence lawyer who can be by your side and advance your best defence. Call 647-282-5777 to speak with Deniz Sarikaya and set up your free consultation.