What To Expect…
The Court Process
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
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.
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.