How to Testify as a Witness in Ontario Court

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER –

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Witnesses are an important part of the criminal prosecution process in Ontario. Some of my high-profile clients over the years, including Charles Guité and Karlheinz Schreiber, have been key witnesses who needed to hire legal counsel.

I have extensive experience in trial settings, and working with witnesses specifically, so I can tell you that acting as a witness is not as easy as it might look. That’s why I’ve prepared a new article for anybody seeking information and advice on this subject: Providing Witness Testimony in Criminal Court.

This article explains in-depth the five strategies you need to use if you want to deliver a compelling and effective testimony in Ontario court:

  1. Answer truthfully.
  2. Speak loudly and maintain eye contact.
  3. Don’t continue if you are interrupted.
  4. Don’t let lawyers pressure you.
  5. Be courteous and respectful.

As a witness, you must provide accurate and truthful information. That’s a big responsibility, and it’s certainly one that you must take seriously.

If you’ve been charged with an Ontario criminal defence and have doubts about witnesses in the case – either yours or the Crown’s – it’s important to get in touch with a top criminal defence lawyer who can go over the witnesses and other case information with you. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

How Do I Testify As a Witness at Ontario Criminal Court?

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Witnesses are often called to testify, by both the defence and the Crown, in Ontario criminal proceedings such as trials and preliminary hearings. Lawyers, judges, and juries rely on witnesses for an understanding of the events that led to criminal charges.

Being called upon to testify can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time. You are probably wondering how to best provide your testimony.

There are a number of strategies you can use to deliver your testimony as a witness in criminal court. Here are the five most important ones:

  1. Answer truthfully. Do not lie or leave out details – in fact, doing so is a criminal offence and can result in charges. If you are uncertain of an answer, indicate that you are uncertain. The same applies if you do not recall the answer.
  2. Speak loudly and maintain eye contact. Your testimony will go over better if you are addressing the judge or jury directly. They’ll get the impression that you’re doing just that if you keep your eyes on them while talking, and speak in a clear tone loud enough for them to hear.
  3. Don’t continue if you are interrupted. Court reporters or lawyers present may ask you to stop speaking so that they can get caught up. At this point, you should stop speaking – remain silent until the reporter has caught up.
  4. Don’t let lawyers pressure you. Lawyers may use tactics to make you feel pressured – especially if they are cross-examining you. Ignore that pressure and be calm. Remember that you have the right to take time on each answer.
  5. Be courteous and respectful. Criminal trials and hearings are very serious events, and your behaviour and dress should reflect that. Dress conservatively, avoid wisecracks or jokes, and always use proper addressing (e.g. “Yes, sir,” and “Your Honour.”)

Follow these guidelines, and you’re sure to deliver an effective testimony. Remember that you are there to provide your best possible recollection of events and facts.

If you’ve been charged with an Ontario criminal defence and have doubts about witnesses in the case – either yours or the Crown’s – it’s important to get in touch with a top criminal defence lawyer who can go over the witnesses and other case information with you. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Arrested in Ontario? Here’s Why You Need a Top Criminal Defence Lawyer

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Self-representation in an Ontario criminal case is a risky move, and that’s why I always tell people they should get a lawyer.

But in both Quebec and British Columbia, the number of people choosing to represent themselves in court has gone up. The trend is discussed by my Montreal colleague Luis Millan throughout his article in the latest issue of Lawyer’s Weekly: Judges Grapple with Unrepresented Litigants.

The article revealed that in Quebec, nearly 42 per cent of individuals appealing criminal sentences are unrepresented litigants. What’s even more alarming is the 38.8 per cent of “treatment cases” in Quebec – those that could be authorized for psychiatric treatment following their criminal charges – who also are proceeding without any legal counsel.

Millan discusses similar numbers in British Columbia and mentions that the figures are climbing in both provinces. I strongly discourage litigating on your own behalf in a criminal case, and here’s why:

  • Every Canadian has a right to speak with a lawyer after being arrested. This is a right that cannot be denied regardless of your financial situation – there are programs such as Legal Aid that can help you get the legal advice you require.
  • Ontario law is written for lawyers, and they understand it thoroughly. You likely don’t have the same knowledge, background and resources.
  • Unrepresented litigants’ lack of litigation experience causes courtroom delays. Moreover, sometimes these litigants find themselves looking to the judge for help – which leads to not only a waste of time, but a conflict for the judge presiding.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, it’s difficult to handle your legal battle alone. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you understand your rights, and fight for the best possible results in your case. For more information contact the Ottawa criminal lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Pleading Guilty at Ontario Criminal Court

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Col. Russell Williams pleaded guilty to his criminal charges on October 18, in a turn of events that has made national headlines and stirred much public interest – especially here in Ottawa, Ontario.

The decision to plead guilty as Williams did – as opposed to pleading “not guilty” and arguing to have your charges dismissed – is not an easy one to make. In this case, the plea had to have been made only after extensive legal consultation and after all the options had been weighed.

If you’ve been charged with an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada you are probably overwhelmed, and you might be considering making a guilty plea just to get the case over with. Sometimes it seems “convenient.”

I have worked on a great many criminal defence cases and my advice is this: do not plead guilty without first having your case reviewed by an experienced Ontario criminal lawyer! A skilled attorney can help you find alternatives:

  • You could successfully have your case dropped before it gets to trial – for example, it could be dismissed due to lack of sufficient evidence at the preliminary hearing stage.
  • There are numerous legal defences (violation of Charter rights, for example) that can be employed at trial to convince the judge that your case should be dismissed.
  • Even if a guilty plea is your choice, at the very least you want to get the most lenient sentence possible.

If you are facing charges for a criminal offence in Ontario, don’t try to decide on your own whether or not to plead guilty. It’s crucial that you speak with an experienced criminal defence lawyer first, to learn more about your rights and legal options. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Murder Acquittal a Rare Event for Ottawa Court

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – A murder acquittal can be difficult to obtain in any Canadian courtroom, and it’s particularly tough here in Ottawa.

That’s why I noted with interest the story of Mahmoud Kayem, who was acquitted of murder by a jury in an Ottawa courtroom on September 26.

Crown prosecutors had alleged that the 25-year-old Kayem assisted his friend Nawaf Al-Enzi in planning and carrying out the murder of another member of their gang. But in a surprising split verdict, the jury found Al-Enzi guilty and freed Kayem of the charges against him.

Both men had been in prison for about two years. Following the verdict, Kayem was released from custody. Enzi, however, was sentenced to life imprisonment and will not be eligible for parole until 25 years from now.

Here in Ottawa, murder acquittals are rare. In October of 2005, I was successful in having one of my clients acquitted of murder charges. At that time, it had been seven years since anybody had been acquitted of murder charges in Ottawa.

If you have been charged with murder, manslaughter, or a related criminal offence in Ontario, it’s critical that you get expert legal advice from a lawyer with experience in these cases. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone (613) 233-4529.