They are called “social media” and “public profiles” for a reason.

With the creation of Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and every other content sharing platform our lives went from private to public in nano seconds and we seem to like it.

We share everything from where we are to what were doing and even our opinions. However, social media can be your worst enemy and karma has a long swing on the Internet. Not only are regular people like you and me on social media but, police, lawyers and people in hiring positions.

This example is not from Ottawa but, it shows what you need to worry about. A girl named Emma tweeted about hitting a cyclist with her car and how they deserved it. Turns out the Internet did not agree with her and sent that tweet to the police.  The local police, being on social media, contacted her and made sure she sent a report.

This month we wrote and sent a newsletter talking about social media and how to use/not use it to our clients. If you want this information send us an email at [email protected] and we can send you a pdf or hard copy.

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.

Federal Court of Appeal Upholds Ruling in Favour of Jean Chretien

OTTAWA PUBLIC INQUIRY LAWYER – In 2004 and 2005 I represented a key witness, Chuck Guité, before the Gomery Inquiry which was set up to investigate the Liberal Government’s “Sponsorship Program” which had been in effect during the decade prior.

The inquiry was very well-publicized, and it’s still making headlines today. Jean Chretien – a former Canadian Prime Minister and one of the witnesses who appeared before the commission – fought in court to have some parts of Justice John Gomery’s final report struck down because they made unverifiable claims about Chretien.

A 2008 ruling to strike down the passages in question was appealed by the Federal Government. This past week, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the court’s decision – a major win for Chretien.

To help provide some context for our readers, I’ve put together a new article explaining the Gomery Inquiry and providing some information about exactly how I was involved: An Ottawa Defence Lawyer’s Involvement in the Gomery Inquiry.

At Auger Hollingsworth we are experts in public inquiry proceedings and all sorts of administrative law. Throughout my years as a criminal defence lawyer, working on these inquiries has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my professional career.

Are you being called to appear at a public inquiry, or are you involved in a different type of administrative law proceeding? It’s important that you get in touch with a top public inquiry lawyer who can help represent and advise you during the process. For more information, contact the Ottawa public inquiry lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Spotlight on Non-Fiction: “Inside Gomery”

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYERS – Over the years I have found myself involved with a number of public inquiries and high-profile criminal trials in Ontario. The Gomery Inquiry of 2005 was one of the most complicated inquiries I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in.

The Gomery Inquiry, named after Justice John Gomery who presided over the commission, was established to look for facts surrounding the Sponsorship Scandal, and get more information on the events of 1994-2004 which led to suspicion that the Liberal party had been spending public money irresponsibly.

Francois Perreault’s excellent book Inside Gomery has a couple of interesting sections detailing my involvement – along with many other lawyers – in aiding key witnesses. Here is a quote from Chapter Six of the book:

“After a few weeks, it became easy to recognize the celebrities, even for those watching the proceedings on television. Pierre Fournier, representing Alfonso Gagliano, ex-minister and ex-ambassador; Guy Pratte, representing Jean Pelletier, ex-chief of staff for an ex-prime minister; Richard Auger, representing Charles (“Chuck”) Guité, an ex-public servant; Peter Doody, representing the ex-prime minister; and finally, Sylvain Lussier, representing the current government. What an impressive lineup! These men were champions of the law profession […] They showed remarkable skill and perseverance in handling their arguments, and they impressed me greatly.”

I am humbled to have been recognized in this list of Canada’s top lawyers.

Are you getting ready to participate in a Canadian public inquiry, as a witness or otherwise? It’s important to call a top public inquiry lawyer who can help you determine how to proceed. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Arrested for Impaired Driving in Ontario? Write Down Your Story ASAP!

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – If you are arrested for Impaired Driving, Over 80, or Sample Refusal in Ontario, the police will take you off the road and to a police station.

After you’re released from the police station, your first instinct might be to tell your family or close friends the “whole story” of your ordeal. As a criminal defence lawyer who has handled many driving offence cases, I can give you some important advice: keep your recollection of the events private, and discuss it only with your lawyer.

Instead of retelling the story verbally, to a friend or family member, you would be wise to write detailed notes about the incident. It’s important to include these crucial details:

  • Which foods you ate on the day of the event (and when you ate them), as well as any alcoholic beverages you consumed.
  • Where and when you were pulled over and arrested.
  • Who was with you at the time (include their names and telephone numbers).
  • What was said between yourself and the police, at the roadside and on the way to the station.
  • Whether or not you had access to a phone at the time of the arrest.
  • The type of tests that were administered, and when (e.g. was a breathalyzer used?)

These notes give you an opportunity to organize your memories of the incident, and they also provide you and your lawyer with a valuable reference for building your defence.

Have you been arrested and charged with an Ontario driving offence? Another early step you should take is contacting an experienced criminal defence lawyer, who can help you proceed with your case. 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.

Harmonized Sales Tax Evasion in Ontario

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Harmonized sales taxes (HST) were introduced to Ontario earlier this year, and we saw resultant increases in the prices we pay for essential consumer services including:

  • Home renovations;
  • Gasoline;
  • Internet & electricity bills;
  • Consumer goods purchased from restaurants, bars, convenience stores, coffee shops, etc.

With that added pressure on Ontario consumers and their wallets, the temptation is greater to find methods of avoiding tax payments.

These “off-the-books” transactions are illegal and can attract criminal tax evasion. Before the introduction of HST you were required to pay sales tax on purchases, and you are still required to do so – even though the GST and PST have been harmonized.

In early July, the Toronto Star spoke with Ontario’s Revenue Minister John Wilkinson and published an article detailing his views on this subject: Province Warns of the Perils of HST Evasion.

In that article, Wilkinson points out that prosecuting tax evaders in Ontario is easier under HST. Under the old system, one case of suspected evasion had to be examined under two different tax systems at different jurisdictions.

Now that there is a harmonized tax system in effect, Ontario tax evasion cases can be prosecuted efficiently at the provincial level.

If you are being investigated or have been charged in connection with tax evasion in Ontario, it’s important that you speak with an experienced white collar crime and tax evasion lawyer who can help you fight your charges and understand your rights. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.