Trial Counsel for Law Firms

Criminal Defence Process Overview

Accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Accused have the right to a fair trial and counsel of their choice. Below is an outline of the main stages in defending a criminal charge under the Criminal Code.

Bail – some accused are detained until a bail hearing. At the bail hearing, the Court considers whether it is appropriate to release the accused pending trial and on what terms.

Set Date Court – after release or making bail, an accused and/or their counsel must appear at Court regularly to report on the progress of the case until a trial date is set.

Disclosure – the Crown must provide all evidence in their possession, whether it helps or hurts the prosecution. Disclosure must be carefully reviewed and critically analysed.

Pre-trial – most cases involve Crown pre-trials and often Judicial pre-trials. Crown pre-trials are meetings between the Crown and defence to discuss outstanding issues and possibly conduct plea negotiations. Judicial pre-trials are formal discussions before a Judge to discuss and narrow issues for trial.

Charter Issues – powerful remedies under the Charter are available in appropriate cases. For example, charges can be stayed (terminated) for unreasonable delay or evidence can be excluded for unreasonable search and seizure.

Preliminary Inquiry – for indictable offences, which tend to be more serious, the defence can request a preliminary inquiry to examine the sufficiency of specific issues and evidence prior to trial.

Trial – criminal trials are heard and determined by a Judge or sometimes Jury. From the defence perspective, many criminal trials involve the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses and legal submissions on whether the facts establish the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mick Hassell defends all criminal charges at trial.

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Hassell Trial Counsel
111 Greensides Ave
Toronto, Ontario M6G 3P8

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