What documents does the Crown have to give me?

The law says that the Crown must give you all the information they have about your case. And they must give it to you for free. The Crown gets most of the information from the police investigating you. At your , the Crown uses that information to try to prove that you're guilty.

The documents the police and Crown have with the information about your case are called . The disclosure may include:

  • police officer's notes
  • witness statements
  • surveillance video and photos
  • financial documents
  • medical records
  • forensic reports

The Crown must give you a copy of everything that they have that is relevant to your case, unless the information is privileged. Privileged means the information is confidential and can't be shared or used at trial. For example, communication between a lawyer and their client or between a doctor and patient are privileged.

The disclosure will always have some information that can be used to prove that you're guilty. The Crown also must include any information they have that could prove you're not guilty.

At your first court date, usually called a “first appearance”, the Crown might have none, all, or some of your disclosure. It will depend on what the police have given them so far. If the Crown doesn't give you your disclosure, you should ask the judge for it when it's your turn to speak.

Your first appearance and other set-date appearances will likely be virtual over Zoom or the phone. However, the judge might ask you to come in person.

It can take weeks or months to get all your disclosure. The Crown will tell you if they are waiting on more disclosure. And you can ask the Crown for more disclosure you think is missing. Make sure you tell the judge if you haven't received all of your disclosure.

Once you have enough disclosure to understand the Crown's case against you, you can schedule a Crown pre-trial. It's a good idea to get legal advice to understand if the Crown has a strong case against you.

Late disclosure

The Crown must give you all your disclosure before your trial starts so you can prepare. If the Crown gives you new disclosure close to or on your trial date, you can ask the judge for an . An “adjournment” means a later trial date. See Step 3 for more information on asking for an adjournment.

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