glossary

Glossary

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An absolute discharge is a type of sentence. Absolute discharge means that the court found you guilty, but decided not to punish you in any other way. You don’t get a criminal record. Absolute discharges are automatically removed from the Canadian Police Information Center computer system 1 year after the court’s decision.

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A trial for an absolute jurisdiction offence is always held in the Ontario Court of Justice. You do not have an election. Absolute jurisdiction offences are listed in section 553 of the Criminal Code. Some examples include:

  • theft of something valued $5000 or less
  • fraud under $5000
  • failure to comply with recognizance
  • failure to comply with probation order
Title: acquittal
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An acquittal means that the court found you not guilty.

Title: adjourn
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To adjourn a case means to re-schedule it to continue at some later time. This can be as early as the next day, or as late as months later, depending on the reason for the adjournment. This is not the same as a recess. A recess is when the court takes a break but comes back the same day.

Title: adjourned
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If your case is adjourned, it will be finished in court for that day, and will continue on a future date. You will have to come back to court for your next court date.

Title: adjournment
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An adjournment is when your day in court is cancelled and rescheduled for another date. This can happen for many reasons, for example, if you aren’t ready to go to court or the court does not have time to hear your case on a particular day.

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The administration of justice is the process through which the justice system works. It includes the people, activities, and organization of the justice system. It is used to find, investigate, arrest, and try people suspected of committing a criminal offence.

Title: affidavit
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An affidavit is a document where a witness makes statements about facts that they say are true. The document must be sworn in front of an authorized person, such as a lawyer or commissioner of oaths.

Title: agent
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An agent is someone you ask to act on your behalf. It can be a lawyer, a paralegal, a family member, or a friend. You can ask an agent to go to court for you if the offence you were charged with carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and/or a $5000 fine and is:

The person acting as your agent appears in the court as if they are you.

If your case is indictable (or hybrid and the crown has not elected), you need a "designation of counsel" in order to have your lawyer or their agent appear on your behalf.

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This is a formal document used to begin a proceeding in court. An information can be used to accuse a person of a criminal offence or to ask for a hearing for a peace bond.

In a criminal proceeding, the information is usually sworn by a police officer who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe the person committed a criminal offence.

In a non-criminal proceeding, a private citizen usually swears an information to ask for a peace bond against someone they have a reasonable fear of.  Private citizens can also swear informations for criminal offences.

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