The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part 9

This is the ninth article in a series detailing what you might expect in many Calgary area criminal defence cases. Previous instalments can be found here: [Part One], [Part Two], [Part Three], [Part Four], [Part Five], [Part Six], [Part Seven], [Part Eight].

Previous articles in this series outlined the differences between more minor "summary offences," alleged criminal acts that are considered more serious "indictable offences," and a handful of crimes that are "hybrid offences" and can be tried as either summary or indictable offences based on the determination of the Crown prosecutor on the case. In last week's article, a basic overview of a summary defence case was provided; this week we'll take a look at an indictable offence proceeding, and how a defence is prepared and enacted for these criminal defence cases.

Whether an alleged crime is a hybrid offence that the prosecution determines should be tried as an indictable offence, or if the alleged acts necessitate proceeding with an indictable offence trial, the process of the trial itself is the same. These trials take place in front of a judge or a judge sitting with a jury in the Calgary courts or one of the surrounding regional courts, depending on jurisdiction over the original alleged criminal acts. The presiding judge or judge and jury hears the prosecutor's evidence and the case put forth by the defence the accused person and the accused's criminal defence lawyer if they are represented by counsel to arrive at a determination of "guilty" or "not guilty."

Criminal Defence in an Indictable Offence Trial

Defence strategies differ between trials with a judge sitting alone and trials with a judge and jury. The average person sitting on a jury in Calgary or the surrounding area will have little if any specialized knowledge of the law, and will be less practiced at interpreting evidence than a judge who hears these cases as a routine part of their profession. An effective criminal defence will know how to present facts and arguments in a way that jury members will not only understand, but will find compelling and convincing. It is not simply a matter of presenting the truth, but of doing so in a way that helps the jury find a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case.

Indictable offence trials with a judge and jury require a greater commitment of time and energy for the preparation and execution of an effective criminal defence. As indictable offences can be more serious than summary offences in terms of potential penalties, the importance of preparing and carrying out an effective defence is also heightened (though it is still, of course, important in a summary offence trial).

Speaking to a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, everyone arrested or accused of a crime has the right to consult with a criminal defence lawyer, and a right to be represented by a lawyer at trial. Many people facing indictable offence proceedings in the Calgary area elect for representation by an experienced lawyer to ensure that their case is prepared by someone with an understanding of the criminal justice system and the mechanisms of the courts.

For a free consultation with Calgary criminal defence lawyer Susan Karpa, please contact her today.