What To Expect…

The Court Process

This can be a very confusing and stressful experience. Here you will find information to help you better understand the legal process and your responsibilities as your matter travels through the court system. There are many stages in the court process before you can have your trial before a judge. An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through all of this quickly and help you obtain the best results.

Bail Hearing

When you are charged, you may be released immediately with conditions to abide by and a date to return to court. Alternatively, you may be held for a bail hearing where the court will decide if you can be released from custody while awaiting trial. You are entitled to appear before a bail court within 24 hours of being arrested. Before being found guilty, you are presumed to be innocent.

As a result, the court will release you if they are satisfied that (1) you, or a lawyer on your behalf, will return to court when required to, (2) you are not a risk to the community, and (3) the public would not be offended by your release.

The bail hearing is a key stage in the process as an accused person who is not released from custody will have to wait several months before their trial date. It is important for a skilled lawyer to conduct your bail hearing for you as you will only have one chance. The court often requires friends or family of the person charged to act as “sureties”. These persons are required to ensure that, if released, the accused attends court and abides by the conditions the court imposes. If they do not, a surety may forfeit their money.

An acceptable surety must:
Clearly, understand their duties as a surety
Be able to supervise the surety
Not be involved in the offense
Not have a criminal record or outstanding charges
Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant
Be 21 years of age or older

First Appearance

After you are released or denied bail you will be a given a date to return to court (usually about one month later). At this time, the prosecutor, or “Crown”, will ask you if you have hired, or “retained”, a lawyer or are planning to do so. They may also provide you all the evidence that they will use against you. This is called disclosure. Often, disclosure is not available or is incomplete, and multiple appearances are required for the crown to complete its obligation to provide you with these materials. A lawyer can expedite this process by making requests to the Crown for specific disclosure items.

Pre-Trials

After you have received your disclosure, your lawyer must discuss your case with the crown. For more serious charges, or cases involving many witnesses, a judicial pre-trial may also be necessary. The crown pre-trial is an informal discussion where your lawyer will ask the crown to take a position on sentencing or other possible resolutions or, if you wish to set a trial, to discuss issues which will arise at trial and make an estimate for how long a trial will take and which witnesses will be called. The judicial pre-trial involves your lawyer, the prosecutor handling your case, and a judge. The positions of the crown and defense counsel will be discussed and the judge will offer his or her input into the case. These meetings are conducted without accused persons present.

Preliminary Hearing

Some more serious charges are eligible for a preliminary hearing before the case reaches trial. In this hearing, the crown will present its evidence against you, including their witnesses, and a judge will decide if there is enough evidence for the matter to proceed to trial.

Trial

Canada uses an adversarial system at trial in which both the crown and defence are able to tell their sides of the story. They present evidence through witnesses and exhibits and each has the opportunity to challenge the other’s evidence. The Crown must prove you are guilty of the offence you have been charged with beyond all reasonable doubt. A judge, or in some cases, a jury, will then make a finding of either guilty or innocence. Alternatively, the charges may be stayed, withdrawn or dismissed if the judge or Crown deems it appropriate or in the interests of justice to do so.

If you are found to be innocent of the charge you will be acquitted and free to go. If found guilty, the judge will determine your sentence. In the latter case, your matter may be adjourned for a “pre-sentence report” to be prepared and given to the judge. This will provide him or her with background on you and your current circumstances in order to give you an appropriate sentence.

Pleading Guilty

You may wish to waive your right to a trial and the presumption of innocence and plead guilty to the offence. If you choose to do so, your lawyer can attempt to reach a mutual position on sentencing and submit it to a judge for his approval. If they cannot agree on a position, your lawyer and the Crown will submit their respective positions on sentencing to the judge and he will make the final decision. Pleading guilty is a very important decision which may result in you receiving a criminal conviction, and as a result, should not be made without first speaking to your lawyer.

Retaining A Lawyer

Legal fees for a case vary depending on the complexity of the case and how much time your lawyer spends on your matter. You can retain your lawyer either privately, or if eligible and you lawyer accepts it, through legal aid. All independent lawyers at Peel Law Chambers accept legal aid and also offer flexible payment plans to suit your situation. To have a free consultation and receive an estimate for your case, please contact to make an appointment.

Testimonials

When I was charged, I was unsure which lawyer I was going to retain to assist with my matter. Mr. Batasar’s office staff was extremely knowledgeable and able to provide the general information I was seeking prior to retaining a lawyer. When I attended my intake appointment with Mr. Batasar, I was greeted the moment I stepped into the office. After discussing our course of action, Mr. Batasar went right to work on my case and was able to have my charges withdrawn before my first court date! P.M.-
Thank you for your services as a specialized criminal lawyer. Both of my boys were charged and the previous lawyers mishandled the file which would have led to attempted murder charges if you did not take over the file after I released the previous lawyers. You carefully went through the facts and were able to prove to the Crown that this incident was not as it seemed and the boys were victims, resulting in all charges being dropped. Due to the incident that led to my boys being charged, we were forced to move from our home of over 15 years to seek protection away from this gang. We now have peace of mind knowing this matter has been dealt with appropriately. Gary, you can give my name to any parent who needs to speak to another parent and I will recommend your services. D.B. -
Beginning as a summer student in 2008, Nadia Dimitroff progressed to the full- time position of Executive Legal Assistant at Peel Law Chambers. In the spring of 2011, Ms. Dimitroff graduated with honors from Wilfrid Laurier University. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Criminology and Contemporary Studies. Should you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact our office and Ms. Dimitroff will be glad to assist you. (PH): 905-866-6464 (FAX): 905-866-6023 (EMAIL): peellaw@gmail.com-
cbatasar@peellawchambers.com (PH) (905) 866-6464 (Fax) (905) 866-6023 Prior to founding Peel Law Chambers, Cheryl Batasar earned a degree in journalism from Ryerson University, following which she worked extensively in marketing, advertising and in the production of television commercials. Prior to heading Peel Law Chambers, Cheryl was the founder and president of Nexport Inc. an operation specializing in the importation and retail distribution of artistic clothing for women. In addition to her obligations at PLC she also was recently appointed by the Minister of Health for Ontario as a member of council for the College of Psychologists of Ontario where she currently sits as a presiding member.-