Do Canadians Accused of a Crime Have the Right to Remain Silent?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that every Canadian has the right to remain silent until they can obtain legal representation. This means that when a Canadian is arrested under suspicion of having committed a crime, he or she is under no legal obligation to answer questions by the police. This legal right is intended to prevent confessions obtained by law enforcement through threats, violence, or torture from being admitted as evidence in a court of law. The right to silence is integral in the Canadian legal system to preventing the kinds of human rights abuses rampant in other legal systems around the world. There are, however, some precedents for cases wherein a Canadian court might not uphold a Canadian’s right to silence as enshrined in the Charter.

A recent case in Canada involved Jagrup Singh, a man taken into custody by police for his suspected involvement in an argument outside a pub that resulted in shots being fired and the death of a bystander. Police advised Singh of his right to remain silent, but then proceeded to ask him a variety of questions. After answering a few of the most basic of these, Singh refused to answer further more incriminating questions and reasserted his right to remain silent 18 times. Eventually, in a state of fatigue and stress, two elements that can seriously undermine the admissibility of legal evidence, Singh admitted to being at the scene of the crime. This was accepted as evidence by a panel of judges who argued that a person’s right to remain silent “does not mean, however, that a person has the right not to be spoken to by state authorities”. This is a confusing development that jeopardizes, in the eyes of many, the rights guaranteed in the Charter and could open the floodgates of police abuse. It is lucky that this is an uncommon precedent in Canadian law and a rare case of such evidence being accepted by Canadian courts.

What if I Breach My Bail Conditions?

It is important to follow all of the bail conditions that are set once you have been granted bail.  Some of your conditions will be common to most individuals charged with the same criminal offence, and some might be particular to your situation.  Failure to comply with all of your bail conditions has serious consequences.

First, by breaching some or all of the conditions, you risk losing the privilege of being released on bail.  A Judge might order you to appear in Court and revoke your release, thereby placing you once again in police custody.  You may also be charged with additional criminal offences which can exacerbate the defence of your original charges.

Breaching your bail conditions can also reduce your chances of receiving bail if you are charged with another criminal offence in the future.  It can also negatively impact any negotiations your lawyer may enter into with the prosecution.  If you fail to follow all of your bail conditions, the prosecutor and Judge involved with your case will be less likely to exercise leniency.

It is in your favour, regardless of how difficult or unfair your bail conditions may seem, to follow them all and comply with the law.  On rare occasions, individuals accidentally breach their bail conditions or are in a situation where they have no choice but to temporarily break them.

Although these circumstances are rare, they are possible. If you think you are in a situation like this, discuss it promptly with your defence lawyer.  An intentional breach of bail conditions has serious consequences for you and for the success of your criminal case.  It is always best to comply with the conditions laid out by the Judge at the time of your bail hearing in order to assist your lawyer in achieving a positive outcome in your case.

What Happens If I Fail to Attend My Criminal Court Date?

When a Judge orders an individual to appear in Court at a specific date and time, that individual is legally bound to appear.  An individual who intentionally misses their criminal Court date can be charged with a criminal offence.  However, the onus is on the prosecutor to demonstrate that the individual truly intended not to appear in Court.  This means that they must show that the individual was aware of their Court date and chose not to appear.

Generally, it is up to the Judge whether or not he or she accepts a particular excuse for not appearing in Court.  For example, an individual who slept through their Court date would not likely receive much leniency from a Judge, but someone whose children were rushed to the emergency room in a life-threatening situation might be excused.

If you are ever in a situation when you think or know in advance that you will not be able to attend your criminal Court date, discuss this with your lawyer.  If you only realize after the fact that you missed your Court date, contact your lawyer and they will advise you on how to proceed. It is possible that you may still be able to avoid criminal charges.  Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your failure to appear in Court, it is important that you have a good criminal lawyer who will work on your behalf.

What Should I Do if I’m Audited by the CRA?

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Tax evasion in Canada is in headlines again, and to follow yesterday’s blog post about the Swiss HSBC tax information leak – involving nearly 2,000 Canadians – it would be fitting to take a look at the Canada Revenue Agency (or CRA for short).

When an individual is evading taxes, or otherwise failing to follow guidelines under the Income Tax Act, the CRA is responsible for noticing the discrepancy and then acting on it. In cases of smaller discrepancies, this action consists of raised taxes, penalties, or interest charges.

But in some cases – ones where the CRA suspect tax evasion has been committed – the agency calls an audit or investigation of a taxpayer’s tax information. Our latest article, Canada Revenue Agency Audits and Tax Evasion, explains why and how the CRA conducts these audits and investigations. It also gives you some handy information on how to respond if you are questioned, audited, or investigated in connection with possible tax evasion.

The bottom line is that whenever you find yourself under audit or investigation by the CRA, it’s important to get in touch with a lawyer who has experience handling tax cases. That audit could lead to charges, and you’ll want someone in your corner who understands the Canadian law around tax evasion and the Income Tax Act.

If you have already been charged with tax evasion, it’s crucial that you hire a lawyer who is experienced with large-scale tax cases, and has a proven track record defending against accusations of white-collar crime. For more information, contact the criminal defence and tax evasion lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by phone 613-233-4529 or by email [email protected]

Ottawa Criminal Lawyer: Do I Have a Defence?

If you have been charged with a serious criminal offence, you may be wondering what defences are available to you.  We have compiled a short list of defences as an overview.  Of course, not every defence is applicable to every case.  Speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer about whether you have a viable defence to your case.

Alibi:  This is a defence that can be raised where the accused could not have committed the offence because he was not physically present at the location of the offence when it occurred.  If the court concludes that the accused did not have the opportunity to commit the offence because he was elsewhere, the accused may be found not guilty.

If an accused maintains that he was elsewhere at the time of the offence, it is critical that this be discussed privately with an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  This is important because it may be necessary to privately interview witnesses and secure evidence to confirm that the accused was at a location other than where the offence occurred.  It is also important to discuss this privately with an experienced criminal defence lawyer because the lawyer will need to decide when and how to provide the necessary notice of the alibi to the crown.  Although usually the defence does not have to disclose anything to the crown, the law does suggest that the crown and police should be given a reasonable opportunity to investigate any alibi defence.  If this notice is not given, the alibi defence can be rejected by the court.

Provocation:  This is a defence which is commonly misunderstood.  Provocation can only be used to reduce the charge of murder to manslaughter.  Provocation is not a defence to other circumstances.  Generally, the accused must have committed the offence “in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation”.  It must be a wrongful act of such a nature that it would deprive an ordinary person of the ability to self control.  The accused must have acted suddenly before there was any time to consider the actions or to cool his passion.

Self Defence:  This is a defence that may be available to a person who committed the wrongful but did so to prevent harm to him ro herself,  to others under their protection or to their property.

This defence is complicated and it is therefore critical that the accused discuss with an experienced criminal defence lawyer the circumstances of any possible self defence.  Generally, there needs to be evidence of the “necessity” to have committed the act by using force and the force used needs to be “reasonable”.

Automatism: This is a defence where the accused is in a state of impaired consciousness with no voluntary control over his or her actions.

Intoxication:  Intoxication may render an accused’s actions involuntary and therefore the accused may not have formed the mental intention to commit the offence.  There are complicated issues surrounding whether or not the intoxication was voluntary or involuntary.

Ontario Domestic Violence Lawyer

When an allegation is made that you are abusing your spouse or intimate partner you may be charged with domestic assault.  Domestic assault, also known as spousal assault,  is the use of physical force with the intent to harm a spouse, loved one or cohabitant.   Domestic assault /  spousal assault is a very serious crime in Canada.

If you are currently being investigated for, or have been accused of or formally charged with this type of assault, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer.  A criminal defence lawyer will strengthen your case by using his experience, skill, education and superior knowledge of Canada’s criminal law when defending your case before a judge in the Ontario courts.

If you are convicted of domestic assault, you may face jail time, restitution, fines, probation, counselling and a criminal record.   A criminal record impacts your ability to travel and work in certain types of positions.

Domestic Violence Lawyers

At the Auger Hollingsworth, our lawyers will provide you with excellent criminal defence of your assault charge or charges.  We have represented people just like you on many domestic violence cases that have resulted in favourable conclusions.   Use our  Free Consult form, or call us at 613 233-4529, to book a no obligation consultation.

Ottawa White Collar Criminal Defence Lawyer

In our Ontario criminal defence practice often even if the case is not “white collar” itself, our client will be  white collar in background.   A relatively minor domestic assault or drug charge, for example, brought against a physician or dentist might be as life-altering to his/her reputation and practice as tax evasion charges would be.  Quite frankly, many professionals face the possibility of losing their professional licenses if convicted of certain criminal offences. Other business people face the prospect of failing background checks.  In any of these cases, a full time, experienced criminal defence lawyer is required to achieve the best result.

Our criminal practice focuses most of its lawyer hours to the defence of major crimes and large criminal cases.  White collar criminal defence is our primary practice area.   How can that be?  Well, the most serious criminal cases– for which the criminally accused has the resources to retain a seriously aggressive criminal defence lawyer—are white collar criminal cases.

Our white collar criminal defence practice focuses primarily on the following criminal charges: tax evasion, accounting fraud, investment fraud, deceptive trade practices, securities violations, insider trading,  business crimes, organized crimes, gambling organizations, internet crimes, computer crime, bank fraud, counterfeiting, forgery, racketeering, land fraud, real estate scams, Nigerian scams, credit card fraud and more.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one following a a serious criminal charge, use our contact us box to request a confidential consultation with Richard Auger.

26 Ways the Charter Protects You – Twenty-Six Facts About the Charter and You

Make sure your criminal defence lawyer protects your constitutional rights when you are charged with a criminal offence.

You have:

  1. the right to remain silent.
  2. the right to a lawyer, including the right to consult that lawyer privately.
  3. the right to a fair trial.
  4. the right to a trial without undue delay.
  5. the right to a trial in English or French.
  6. the right to know why you have been arrested.
  7. the right not to testify against yourself.
  8. the right to an interpreter in court.
  9. the right to an impartial tribunal.
  10. the right to reasonable bail.
  11. the right to be tried by a judge and jury (in most cases).
  12. the right to be presumbed innocent.

You cannot be:

  1. detained arbitrarily (except in some limited circumstances).
  2. detained without being brought before a justice within 24 hours.
  3. subjected to an unreasonable search of your person, your home or your car.
  4. charged with an offence on the basis of racial profiling.
  5. charged tried twice for the same offence.
  6. be convicted of an offence that is overly broad.
  7. be convicted of an offence that is sexist, racist or otherwise discriminatory.

What if Your Charter Rights are Violated?

  1. Evidence obtained by the Crown in a way that violates the Charter may be excluded from use against you at trial.
  2. If you are charged with an offence that violates the Charter, the offence and the charges with it, may be struck down.
  3. If your trial was delayed too long the charges against you could be stayed.
  4. If the violation of your Charter rights brings the administration of justice into disrepute, your charges may be stayed.

Are these Charter remedies automatic?

  1. No. Charter remedies are usually only granted where the criminal defence lawyer asks for them.
  2. Your criminal lawyer must carefully review the file for Charter violations.
  3. Your criminal lawyer must prepare, file and actually argue Charter motions before the trial judge.
  • Make sure your criminal defence lawyer knows the Charter and uses it to your full advantage.
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer what motions he or she will bring on your behalf.
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer whether he or she regurlarly bring Charter motions
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer whether he or she regularly wins Charter motions.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, make sure you have an experienced criminal defence lawyer who knows how to enforce your Charter rights.  Contact a criminal lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth by clicking here or by calling 613 233-4529.

Leitrim Minor Hockey Association Fraud Charges – The Ottawa Police Service reports that fraud charges have been laid.

According to the Ottawa Police Service, they received a complaint in July 2006 from the Leitrim Minor Hockey Association indicating that association funds had allegedly gone missing or had been misappropriated between 2004 and 2006.

The Ottawa Police Services are reporting that fraud investigators have completed their investigation and have charged an individual with:

  • 2 counts of Fraud Over $5,000
  • 2 counts of Forgery
  • 2 counts of Uttering Forged Documents
  • 1 count of Possession of Proceeds Obtained by Crime over $5,000
  • 1 count of Launder Proceeds of Canadian Crime
  • 1 Breach by Public Officer
  • 1 count Criminal Breach of Trust
  • 1 count of Theft by Person Required to Account
  • 1 count Misappropriate Money Held Under Direction
  • 1 count of Fraudulent concealment
  • 1 count of False Pretence

These are very serious charges that require a criminal defence lawyer with significant experience defending fraud charges and other property charges.  For more information about defending against fraud and other charges, contact Auger Hollingsworth.

Charged with Impaired Driving on 401

A 43-year-old impaired driver caused a two-vehicle crash on Highway 401 in Kingston, near the Sydenham Road exit at 6:45 p. m.

The Toronto man was charged for impaired driving and having a blood alcohol level over 0.08.

If you or a loved one have been charged with drinking and driving, click here to order a free copy of “Fighting Drinking and Driving Charges”.