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Provincial Offences Process Overview

Provincial offences are not criminal proceedings, but they are quasi-criminal in nature as fines and imprisonment are possible. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Defendants have the right to a fair trial and counsel of their choice. Below is an outline of the main stages in defending a charge under the Provincial Offences Act.

Set Date Court – most defendants will receive an offence notice or summons. Defendants and/or their counsel must appear at Court regularly to report on the progress of the case until a trial date is set. Minor offences may go straight to trial.

Disclosure – the prosecutor must provide all evidence in their possession, whether it helps or hurts the prosecution. Disclosure must be carefully reviewed and critically analysed. It is generally up to defendant to request disclosure.

Pre-trial – most cases involve some form of pre-trial meeting between the prosecution and defence to discuss issues and possibly conduct plea negotiations.

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.

Trial – Trials are heard by a Justice of the Peace. From the defence perspective, many trials involve the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses and legal submissions on whether the facts establish the charge.

Mick Hassell defends all provincial offences at trial.

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

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