Glossary - French Language Rights
Crown prosecutors, also known as prosecutors, Crown counsel, or the Crown, are lawyers employed by the Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The Crown has a duty to make sure that all available legal proof of the facts is presented fairly. The Crown’s job is not about winning or losing. The Crown is an officer of the court, and a member of the Law Society of Ontario.
This is the information that the police and Crown have about your case. The Crown must give you all the disclosure they have about your case, unless it is covered by privilege. The disclosure may include:
- police officer’s notes
- witness statements
- surveillance video and photos
- financial documents
- medical records
It will be given to you on an ongoing basis as it made available to the Crown by the investigating police officers. You may have to go to court more than once to get all of your disclosure. You should wait until you have all of your disclosure before deciding whether to plead guilty.
Diversion is a word people use to talk about taking criminal charges out of the court and dealing with them in a more informal way. That means dealing with your charges without having a trial or pleading guilty. You can do things like attend a program, take a course, or complete other tasks away from the court. In the youth criminal justice system this is called Extrajudicial Measures (EJM), Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS), or informal diversion.
An election is a choice that is given to the Crown, or an accused person when there is an allegation of a serious crime.
A Crown election happens when you are charged with a hybrid offence. The Crown will elect to prosecute your case summarily, or by indictment.
If you are charged with an indictable offence, or a hybrid offence that the Crown is prosecuting by indictment, you have an election to make. You can choose to have your trial in the:
- Ontario Court of Justice before a judge,
- Superior Court of Justice before a judge, or
- Superior Court of Justice before a judge and jury.
Making this choice is referred to as making an election. If you elect to have your trial in the Superior Court of Justice you can also choose to have a preliminary hearing in the Ontario Court of Justice.
A proceeding in the Ontario Court of Justice available to people being prosecuted by indictment. A preliminary inquiry does not determine guilt or innocence. It is used to determine whether there is enough evidence for committal. The test for committal is whether there is some evidence that a judge or jury could use to convict you at a trial. If you are not committed to stand trial, you will be discharged and your case will be over. A preliminary inquiry is also known as a preliminary hearing.
A trial is a court hearing to determine whether the crown has proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Trials result in findings of guilt or acquittals. If found guilty, the accused is sentenced. If they are acquitted, they are considered innocent of the offence and the case is over.