Your Defence Lawyer’s Cross-Examination Can Make or Break your Ontario Criminal Trial

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – In many criminal defence cases in Ontario, there may not be a great amount of evidence for the accused to bring forth in his or her own defence. The question I hear from many new clients is: “Do I have to call evidence at my trial, or can we build a defence without it?”

The answer is that in some cases, you and your lawyer can successfully fight your case without calling evidence or witnesses for the defence. What’s the secret? It’s all in the cross-examination of the Crown’s witnesses.

The accused’s right to have a lawyer cross-examine Crown witnesses is guaranteed by both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a crucial part of any criminal trial, and it is often the best way to find the real truth about events that occurred.

During cross-examination, a skilled criminal defence lawyer will attempt to:

  • Obtaining admissions from witnesses that weaken the Crown’s case.
  • Strengthen the defence case, by making suggestions that the witnesses agree with.
  • Discredit the witnesses – by showing that their recollections are inaccurate or contradict other witnesses.

All of these strategies can help your defence, and if the lawyer has enough experience, could lead to having your charges dismissed.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, don’t leave the results of your trial to chance – get the help of an experienced trial lawyer who can use cross-examination and other strategies to fight your charges effectively in court. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

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.

Crown Disclosure in an Ontario Criminal Case

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – A “disclosure” is the evidence (usually documents) which supports the criminal charges against you. The crown must gove complete disclosure to your criminal defence lawyer.

This disclosure must contain all the facts of the case that have come to the attention of the police or the crown, whether or not they hurt the crown’s case.

1.      If the Crown has to give  disclosure, do I as the accused have to give disclosure to the police?

No. While the preparation of a disclosure is a necessary step for the Crown, the accused in the case is not in any way obligated share any info with the crown or the police.

2.      Is the crown also obligated to provide me with a copy of the disclosure? When can I get it, and do I have to pay a fee?

Yes, the disclosure will be provided to your criminal defence lawyer. The Crown must make a copy to give to the accused, and must also pay any expenses for that redistribution. You are entitled to receive this before your criminal trial, and before you are asked to plead either guilty or not guilty.

3.      I believe something is missing from the disclosure that has been prepared in my case.

Your right to a complete disclosure is protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If something has been left out, discuss it privately with your lawyer – there are a number of options you can pursue for setting the record straight, and you could even have your case dismissed from criminal court.

Have you been charged with an Ontario criminal offence and have doubts about your case disclosure? A top criminal lawyer can help you understand the disclosure process and how to use it in your favour. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Choosing an Ontario Criminal Defence Lawyer

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Searching for a great criminal defence lawyer – one who’s just right to represent you in your unique legal case – is a daunting task.

At Auger Hollingsworth, we are always committed to helping make that search easier. If we are unable to handle your case ourselves, it’s because there is another lawyer who would be better suited for the area of your charges. We’ll always be honest about that, and are happy to provide a referral that will help you find the best fit.

Our new article, Hiring a Criminal Defence Layer: 10 Useful Tips, provides you with the basic checklist anyone should arm themselves with before starting to search for a criminal defence lawyer.

If you are facing Ontario criminal charges and ready to start searching for a criminal defence lawyer, don’t stop at reading our articles – get in touch with us for a free consultation on your case! For more information, please contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at 613-233-4529.

Hiring an Ontario Criminal Defence Lawyer: Eight Useful Tips

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – If you’ve been charged with an Ontario criminal offence, choosing a lawyer to represent you can be tough. This is especially true given the stress and anxiety you’re already experiencing.

We can make that decision easier. Before you hire a criminal defence lawyer, ask yourself the following ten questions:

1.      How many years has the lawyer been representing people with your type of case?

Make sure that the lawyer you’re considering has experience in the legal area of your charges. For example, if you’ve been charged with Impaired Driving, Auger Hollingsworth is a natural choice for legal counsel due to Richard’s many years handling a wide variety of driving offence cases.

2.      How much experience does the firm have in the exact court where your case is pending?

If you’re being tried in Ottawa, get a criminal defence lawyer such as Richard Auger who knows the Ottawa court: the judges, the prosecutors, and what to expect. The same rule applies if you live in Smith’s Falls, Peterborough, or anywhere else in Ontario.

3.      How many lawyers work together at the firm?

At Auger Hollingsworth, we recognize the value of cooperation and multiple inputs on any given case. That’s why we have three lawyers who collaborate to achieve the best results. To get the best results for your case, this is often a better option than hiring a lawyer who works alone.

4.      Is the lawyer accessible?

If you have to leave lots of phone messages with your lawyer and you’re not hearing back, that’s a bad sign. At Auger Hollingsworth we pride ourselves on promptly returning calls from our clients, and invite them to check in on case progress at any time.

5.      Does the firm care about YOUR side of the story?

The lawyer you choose should request from you a statement of case, a social history, and details on who your witnesses are. Auger Hollingsworth will work hard to gather all the facts from your end of the case – and anyone who doesn’t should not be the lawyer you hire to represent you.

6.      Can the firm provide impressive testimonials?

The best way to find out about a firm’s client treatment and results is by checking out their client testimonials, like the ones we have on our own Testimonials page.

7.      Does the lawyer make guarantees about your outcome?

It’s not smart to hire a lawyer who does – such guarantees are frowned upon by North American bar associations and most lawyers. At Auger Hollingsworth we promise we will do our best to achieve your desired results, but will not guarantee a win in any criminal case.

8.      How much will the lawyer charge for services?

Make sure you hire a lawyer who will enter into a retainer agreement, outlining the exact amount that will be paid.

Have you been charged with an Ontario criminal defence? Speaking with a lawyer is a great first step – even if he or she doesn’t take on your case, they can refer you to someone who might. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Ontario Preliminary Hearings Explained

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER:

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – A preliminary hearing is an important step for many criminal defence cases – and with the help of a skilled criminal defence lawyer, it could be the last.

If you have been charged with an Ontario criminal offence, you might be wondering: “Is there a way I can have these charges dismissed, without having to stand trial?”

That’s what a preliminary hearing is for. At this formal court session, which takes place after your Remand Court date, a judge hears the Crown prosecutors’ evidence and witnesses and determines whether or not there’s enough evidence to proceed with a criminal trial.

To provide answers for many of the questions you might have about preliminary hearings, I’ve put together a helpful new article: Your Ontario Preliminary Hearing in Criminal Court.

In the article, I discuss the proceedings of a preliminary hearing, the powers of the presiding judge, and – most importantly for your criminal case – how you can have the charges against you dropped with the help of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.

The article contains information on how you can prepare for a preliminary hearing, but my usual advice applies here: you should not participate in these legal proceedings without first hiring a top criminal defence lawyer who has experience in such matters.

If you’re facing criminal charges – and perhaps even appearing for your own preliminary hearing – it’s time to consult an experienced criminal defence lawyer about helping you fight those charges, and possibly having them dismissed. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Your Ontario Preliminary Hearing in Criminal Court

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – A preliminary hearing is a court session that occurs in many criminal cases. This hearing takes place after the accused has gone through Remand Court, and provides the first opportunity for Crown prosecutors to present evidence before a judge.

The whole point of a preliminary hearing is to review the evidence and determine whether or not there is enough evidence to continue prosecuting the accused for his or her criminal charges. The process of an actual preliminary hearing goes like this:

  1. The Crown calls forth witnesses and tenders evidence, in an effort to prove that there is indeed a sufficient amount of it.
  2. The criminal defence lawyer for the accused will try to argue that the charges should be dismissed, citing a lack of sufficient evidence.
  3. The defence lawyer may also cross-examine witnesses for further evidence to help build the defence case.
  4. A court reporter takes down a transcript of the entire hearing, which can be referred to at later trial dates – and can be a very helpful tool for the defence.

Those transcripts are highly important, and after your preliminary hearing you should obtain copies of the transcripts as soon as possible. Review and discuss the transcripts privately with your lawyer, before proceeding to the next stage of your criminal case.

The judge’s role at a preliminary hearing is different from the role he or she would play at a trial. At this stage, the judge cannot make any rulings based on Charter rights or violations of those rights. There are a number of things that the judge can do at this stage, and often will:

  • Order a publication ban on the evidence presented. (Either side may request that the judge do so.)
  • Grant adjournments.
  • Make rulings on evidence admissibility, and on the extent of cross-examination.

Your preliminary hearing can end in one of two ways: either you are discharged (and your charges dropped) due to a lack of admissible evidence, or you are forced to stand trial in the Superior Court of Justice.

Having your charges dropped at the preliminary hearing is not an impossible goal – far from it. In fact, I personally have been successful in having several clients’ cases dismissed at this early stage of the process.

However, it is much more difficult and frustrating to pursue that goal if you are representing yourself. You need to hire a lawyer, and meet with him or her before the hearing so that you can discuss anticipated witnesses and evidence.

Are you facing criminal charges in Ontario and trying to prepare for a preliminary hearing? Not sure whether such a hearing is necessary for your case? A top criminal defence lawyer should be the first call you make. 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.