Not Criminally Responsible On Account of Mental Disorder Contrary to popular culture, a finding of not criminally responsible (by reason of mental disorder) is not a free pass out of the criminal justice system.  The concept of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCR), or what was at one time referred to as…

You’ve been arrested, Now what? If you are being investigated, you may soon find yourself being confronted, interrogated, or in handcuffs. You are going to be arrested by the police in one of two ways.  Either you go to them or they come to you. The former is a surrender, the latter is a takedown….

Basic Trial Procedure A criminal trial begins with the formal arraignment (reading of the charges) to the accused(s). A plea of “not guilty” is required in most cases. Once the arraignment has begun, the Crown Attorney (prosecutor) commences producing evidence to demonstrate that the accused was the perpetrator of the offences for which they have…

What is your election, Jury or Judge Alone? In Canada, all criminal charges are classified into three categories:  a) summary conviction offences, b) indictable offences, or c) hybrid offences.   Pure summary conviction offences are those that are considered less serious, whereas pure indictable offences are those considered the most serious under Canadian criminal law.  Hybrid offences are…

Anatomy of a Criminal Proceeding by Hans John Kalina What exactly does a lawyer do to assist their client in a criminal proceeding?  It’s a question that is often asked and poorly understood.  American television programs promote the myth of a lawyer walking into a prosecutor’s office, throwing down a file and yelling to advance…

The Role of Defence Counsel in a Criminal Proceeding  By Hans John Kalina What is the role of defence counsel in a criminal proceeding?  While this may seem like a question with an obvious answer, closer examination, reveals that it is not. There are two opposing views on the subject.  One view is that defence…

As a lawyer practicing both criminal and immigration law, I often receive requests from colleagues for professional advice on issues they are facing when the two branches of law intersect. Recently, I was consulted by a client on behalf of a fellow criminal defence lawyer to provide an opinion letter for a judicial pretrial on the effect of a discharge for a domestic assault an accused was facing.  The client was accused of assaulting his wife.  He, and his wife, were also facing potential deportation. Fortunately, we were able to resolve their predicament.

The Law of Bail in Canada Revisited June 2, 2017 Being arrested by the police is a traumatic event. Once in the criminal justice system, the process of being released from custody can be perplexing and stressful. This week, The Supreme Court of Canada rebuked the culture around the process of granting bail. Procedurally, the…

What to do When Stopped by the Police Being stopped by the police, whether at home, in your car, or on the street can be a source of anxiety. The following guidelines will help you protect your rights and improve your chances of driving or walking away safely. You don’t have to be a legal…

Most of us believe that we have a good memory. That our memory is like a film recording that we can play back to provide an accurate recollection of events. However, research shows that the truth is much different. Recent studies reinforce the fact that our memories are fallible and unreliable, even though an emotional connection with an event enhances memory formation.

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