What About My Service Guarantee?

It is impossible to predict the outcome of a case so we are not able to guarantee what will happen in your case.  If anyone says that they can make you a guarantee about the outcome of your case, you should be very suspicious.  Until the case reaches its final conclusion, there is no certainty of the outcome.  All we can do is prepare a strong defence and meet any challenges that come along the way to the best of our ability.

While we are unable to predict or guarantee the outcome of your case, we will be able to assess how we think the case is going as it proceeds.  If your case goes to trial, we may be able to get a sense of how the case is progressing at any given time, but as trial continues, this can change.  Throughout the trial proceedings, we will let you know if certain things that occur are in our favour, strengthen our case, or if something happens that presents a challenge for us.

While we cannot guarantee the outcome of your case, there are a few things we can guarantee you.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can guarantee the kind of service you will receive as one of our clients.  We can guarantee that we will handle your case to the best of our ability and that we will provide you with continuous quality service.  On our website, we outline thirteen aspects that we call our “service guarantee” for our clients.  Some of our guarantees include personal attention, quick responses to your questions or requests, confidential service, and aggressive representation.  Take a look at our 13 part service guarantee as it outlines in detail the kind of service and attention you will receive.

Government Aiming to Introduce Random Breathalyzer Tests for Impaired Driving

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Impaired Driving and “Over 80” charges are a serious threat and a very big concern for Ontario drivers. But up until now, you have only had to worry about receiving these charges if you have been pulled over for driving erratically, or showing signs of drunkenness behind the wheel at a roadside screening station.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is planning to change that with new legislation at the provincial and federal levels, which will give police officers the right to conduct breathalyzer tests at random – no erratic driving or drunken behavior necessary.

Canadian news sources are reporting that Minister Nicholson has already met with provincial lawmakers in Alberta and British Columbia. He will, however, need the support of every province before he can attempt to introduce the federal laws allowing random roadside breath tests.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada made the news earlier this month by making calls for new Canadian laws that would allow random roadside testing.

As far as criminal defence lawyers are concerned, there is one worrying aspect of these potential new laws: they may be a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms , which forbids unreasonable search.

I have successfully proven, in many cases, that arrests and charges for Impaired Driving were not appropriate – and I have had many of these charges dismissed. Laws which legalize tests at random would only serve to increase the number of unreasonable driving arrests in Ontario.

Have you been charged with Impaired Driving, “Over 80,” or any other criminal driving offence in Ontario? It’s important to speak with a top criminal defence lawyer who can inform you on your rights and help you win your case. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Appearing in Ontario Criminal Remand Court

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – “Remand Court” is a term that can cause confusion for those facing criminal charges. After all, it’s the first court appearance made by accused in any criminal case.

If you’ve been summoned to appear in Remand Court, it’s important to know what makes a remand court appearance different from a trial. Here are a few of the differences:

  1. 1.      Remand Court is not the place for pleas and sentencing.

The judge in a Remand Court will not hear your plea, and will not determine guilt. Rather, he or she is there to go over initial information with you or your lawyer, and then set an agenda for the case proceedings.

  1. 2.      You won’t be the only accused appearing at your remand court session.

When court convenes for a criminal trial, that particular sitting usually deals with just one case. Not so in a remand court. You will likely be one of many summoned individuals called to appear before the same remand court judge. Determining the order is done alphabetically. Here, there’s a benefit to having your own lawyer – the accused with lawyers are called up first, in alphabetical order by firm name. After that, clients representing themselves are called before the judge in alphabetical order by name.

  1. 3.      The Crown won’t actively prosecute you at Remand Court.

The Crown prosecutors assigned to your case will be represented at your Remand Court appearance, but they do not make any statements at this time. Instead, they submit to the defence a copy of the disclosure containing the evidence secured by the police.

  1. 4.      Remand Court almost always ends with an adjournment.

At any Remand Court in Ontario, it is customary for the Crown to request an adjournment, at which point the judge schedules a “second appearance” for the accused.

While your appearance in Remand Court is informal, and not similar to your criminal trial, hiring a criminal defence lawyer to accompany you is important. The Remand Court judge will want to discuss technical details quickly, and a criminal defence lawyer will know how to handle that discussion efficiently and professionally.

A defence lawyer can also appear for you, if you’re unable to make it to the Remand Court appearance yourself – make sure, however, that you’ve agreed upon this beforehand. If you are going to attend the appearance yourself, make sure you arrive on time wearing appropriate attire.

I usually have my clients sign a one-page Designation of Counsel form. This form is filed with the Remand Court and the client need not personally attend the Remand Court appearance.

If you’re preparing to make an appearance in remand court, hiring an experienced criminal defence lawyer can make the process smoother and less stressful – especially if your charges are serious. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Criminal Charges Laid in Ontario Lottery Fraud Case

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Lottery fraud charges were laid against a group of relatives on September 29, in a story that made national headlines and has the Ontario Provincial Police scrambling to find the rightful lottery prize winner.

Winning an Ontario lottery through fraud, just like any other form of financial fraud, is an offence punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada.

In the case of the three suspects in this case, the criminal charges laid were very serious and included fraud over $5000, possession of money over $5000 obtained through criminal means, and money laundering. The ticket for which they claimed winnings in 2003 was worth $12.5 million, and the Ontario Provincial Police have already seized $10 million in assets from the fraud suspects.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is the crown corporation responsible for preventing Ontario lottery fraud, in keeping with the corporation’s Lottery Prize Integrity Program.

The fraud prevention rules the OLG has in place may have already begun to change following an Ontario shopkeeper’s admission (earlier this year) to scamming a customer out of lottery winnings.

Gambling online is another big change that could increase Ontario’s incidences of lottery fraud – and complicate the Ontario Provincial Police’s efforts to contain it. In an August 2010 news release, OLG announced it would introduce internet lotteries to its array of gambling options, and it will be interesting to observe how it chooses to handle online fraud cases.

When individuals or groups are suspected of lottery fraud in Ontario, it’s not the OLG that attempts to deal with them – they are charged with criminal offences and tried in criminal court.

If you are being questioned or investigated for possible involvement in an any type of fraud, it’s best to consult a criminal defence lawyer with experience handling fraud and white collar crime cases. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by phone (613) 233-4529 or by email [email protected]

Terrorism Law, Charges and Defence Lawyers in Canada: Some Helpful Facts

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – With recent news headlines focusing on large-scale Ontario terrorism sweeps – and the bulk of those investigations focused on Ottawa – it’s a good time to learn some of the basics of Canadian terrorism law.

The Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth specialize in terrorism cases, and we’ve just uploaded a helpful new article on the subject: Terrorism Law in Canada and Understanding Terrorism Charges.

Now more than ever, this is a timely issue. New developments are surfacing in the recent “Operation Samosa” case, in which four Ontario residents – including Ottawa residents – were arrested for facilitating, participating, conspiring and possessing harmful property in connection with a terrorist activity.

As the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the RCMP, and other investigative bodies become more focused on containing terrorist threats, there is also a growing need to defend those wrongfully accused. There are very specific guidelines constituting “terrorist activity” and “terrorist” group contained within the Criminal Code of Canada, and some of the activities constituting terrorism offences can be difficult to prove in court. You can find more information on terrorism charges and offences in our newest article, or have a look at the Criminal Code for yourself.

If you’ve been contacted by CSIS, the RCMP, or another government organization concerning your possible involvement with a terrorist group or activity, the first thing to do is contact an experienced defence lawyer who understands terrorism cases. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth by phone (613) 233-4529 or by email [email protected].

Terrorism Law in Canada and Understanding Terrorist Charges

Canadian terrorism laws – and resultantly, lawyers specializing in terrorism cases – have been around since terrorism-related language was introduced into our Criminal Code following the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Nearly ten years later, we are starting to see more individuals facing prosecution under these new sections of the Criminal Code. Terrorism, consequently, is becoming a much more prominent area of concern for criminal lawyers in Ottawa and the rest of Ontario.

Recently, four men from Ottawa and London were arrested for their alleged involvement in a terrorism plot which the RCMP dubbed “Operation Samosa.” Charges against the men include conspiracy to facilitate a terrorist offence, and making or possessing explosives intended to harm others in support of a terrorist group.

Similar terrorism stings have been making headlines over the last few years.  In 2006, 18 citizens – the “Toronto 18” – were arrested for planning a bombing in Toronto and trying to establish a terrorist network. In 2008, an Ottawa man was found guilty of building a bomb remote for terrorism-related purposes, and for willingly participating in a terrorist plot.

In many of these situations, terrorism investigations are carried out by the RCMP with assistance from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), who use surveillance to pinpoint alleged terrorist activity.

For an action to count as terrorist activity, it must be planned or performed in connection with an ideological, political, or religious cause. It must also be intended to harm/endanger others, put public safety at risk, damage property, or seriously disrupt an essential system.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada’s section on terrorism, a number of actions alert these forces to terrorist activity, and could result in terrorism charges:

  • Directly planning or carrying out a terrorist activity.
  • Knowingly dealing with terrorists.
  • Possessing property for terrorist purposes, or knowingly making property and services available for terrorist services.
  • Participating in and/or facilitating the activities of a terrorist group – even if the activities are never fully carried out.
  • Conspiring with a terrorist group.
  • Harbouring or instructing terrorists, or knowingly allowing others to do so.
  • Orchestrating a terrorism hoax – in other words, misinforming others to make them believe a terrorist activity is underway, even if that’s not the case.

What constitutes a terrorist group? The Ministry of Public Safety maintains a publicly available list of known terrorist groups. Any group not found on the list can still be designated under the law as a “terrorist group” – as long as one of the group’s purposes is to plan and/or carry out a terrorist activity.

If you’ve been contacted by CSIS, the RCMP, or another government organization concerning your possible involvement with a terrorist group or activity, the first thing to do is contact an experienced criminal lawyer who understands terrorism cases. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth by phone (613) 233-4529 or by email [email protected].

Ottawa Defence Lawyer: What You Need to Know about Sentencing

Sentencing in a Canadian criminal case is a human process and can be one of the most difficult procedures to conduct.  It is very difficult to predict the outcome of a sentencing hearing.

The basic purpose of the criminal law is to protect society and individuals from personal injury and property damage.  The main goal in sentencing a person convicted of a criminal offence is to promote just sanctions which will promote the protection of society and its individual members.  More specifically, the Criminal Code prescribes the goals of sentence to be denunciation, deterrence, separate offenders from society where necessary, rehabilitation, reparation to victims, and to promote offender responsibility.

If you are facing an upcoming sentencing hearing, it is important that you understand and discuss with your criminal defence lawyer how each of these goals will be met.  This is critical because the judge will want to be persuaded that the sentence proposed meets these goals.  You should discuss with your criminal defence lawyer what documents, witnesses or other evidence will be presented in order to satisfy the court that these goals of sentencing will be met.

Ensure that your Ottawa criminal defence lawyer has a full understanding about your background including your education, community involvement, medical history, family support and personal circumstances in your life that may have been present leading up to the commission of the offence.  The sentencing judge will be trying to get a clear picture of you as a person and you will want to assist your criminal defence lawyer in conveying that picture in the best possible light.  You can assist your lawyer by gathering information and reliable evidence about the positive aspects about you and your character.

During the sentencing hearing, the judge can ask the convicted person if they wish to say anything to the court.  You should discuss this aspect of the process with your criminal defence lawyer.

You should also ask your criminal defence lawyer and make sure you understand all of the terms of the sentence your lawyer will ask for and all of the terms of sentence the crown attorney will ask for.  The law states that the sentencing judge does not have to accept the sentence proposed by either the defence lawyer or the crown attorney.  The sentencing judge can impose a sentence more harsh or more lenient that the sentence proposed by either party.

So You Want to Be a Surety – What is a Surety? Seven Important Facts

1. What is a surety?

A surety is a person who agrees to be responsible for someone who is accused of a crime and out of custody while waiting for trial. It is a big job, not to be taken lightly.

2. What are a surety’s duties?

  1. To ensure the accused person comes to courts on time when required;
  2. To ensure the accused person obeys each condition of the bail order or recognizance. For example, the accused person may have to report to police or may have a curfew. He or she may be prohibited from drinking alcohol.

3. Does a surety have to deposit money and if so how much?

Sometimes a cash deposit is required if someone is a surety.

More often a surety signs a bond for a certain amount.

There is no fixed amount of money that a surety must pledge.  The amount will vary based on the accused person and the charges and also based on the amount that the surety pledges relative to his or her net worth.

In other words, if you only have $10,000.00 to your name the amount you may be asked to pledge could be less than if you are a millionaire.

4. What if the accused person does not comply with the bail order?

You should not accept to be a surety unless you are sure you can supervise the accused person.

If the accused person disobeys a condition, he or she may be charged with another criminal offence.

You may lose the money you pledge as a surety.

5. What if I no longer want to be a surety?

The obligations of a surety last until the case is completely over. This may take a long time.

If you wish to end your role as a surety before the case is over here are your choices:

  1. You can bring the accused person to court and ask that you be relieved of your responsibilities, or
  2. You can come to court and apply in writing to be relieved of your duties. The court will then issue and order for the arrest of the accused person.

It is also sometimes possible to substitute one surety for another, but this must be done on an application to the Court.

6. Who is eligible to be a surety?

Whether or not the judge or justice of the peace accepts you as a surety is dependant on the specific situation, including the type of charges and the accused person’s criminal record.

The Court will consider your finances, your character and background.  Although it is not impossible, it is unusual for someone with a criminal record to be a surety.

The Court will also consider whether the surety has the time to properly supervise the accused person.  Someone whose schedule is full may not be a suitable surety.

7. Can the accused person’s lawyer give me advice about being a surety?

No.  The accused person’s lawyer cannot give you legal advice.  Sometimes a surety will obtain independent legal advise ensure that he or she is fully aware of the rights and obligations.

If you or a loved one need help getting out of jail on bail, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  A criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth can assist you.  Contact us by clicking here or by telephone at 613 233-4529.

Criminal Defence Lawyer Fails To Watch Client’s Video Interview In Sex Assault Case

A criminal defence lawyer’s failure to review her client’s video interview with police and recorded statements of witnesses led to a mistrial in a Halifax sexual assault case last week.

The man on trial was charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm, two counts of uttering threats and one of obstructing justice, however last month the Crown dropped the threats charges.

At trial, the Crown attorney raised concerns the defence lawyer had not looked at a video of Halifax Regional Police interviewing the man. The lawyer said on the record that she had in fact not watched the video.

She had also sent out an e-mail to the Crown attorney saying her client had admitted to one element of the offence, a statement her client contradicted when he took the stand.

Another defence lawyer was asked to review the issue and provide an opinion. It was agreed the client could no longer be represented by his lawyer and a mistrial was requested.

In an interview the defence lawyer said the reason she did not watch the videos was because “there’s a specific program to view the DVD and I didn’t know what the program was until Monday and the trial started on Tuesday.” She added, “I had written statements…and I had met with my client I think between 15 and 20 hours. I wasn’t concerned about there being an issue.”

The client will return to Nova Scotia Supreme Court on April 23rd for a new trial with new representation.

Juror Excused from Court Due to Bad Body Odour

A Massachusetts Superior Court Judge dismissed a juror based on body odour.   The Judge felt that the stench would distract the other jurors.

The accused was ultimately convicted of a second degree murder.  The accused appealed on the basis that he was not given a fair trial due to the dismissal of the juror.  His conviction was affirmed by the state Appeals Court. The Court held that dismissing a juror because of body odour is acceptable.

Events like these are difficult to avoid, but hiring an experienced lawyer can limit many unpleasant surprises.  Call Auger Hollingsworth at 613-233-4529 or email us to book a free consultation.