What is a private prosecution and how do I apply for one?

In an emergency, call 911. If you're experiencing violence and need support, visit this Ontario webpage.

A is a process where you apply to the court to lay criminal charges against someone you believe committed a crime.

Most of the time, people report a crime to the police. Then the police investigate and decide if they should lay charges against the .

If the police lay charges, a is responsible for prosecuting the charges in court. If the case goes to , a judge or jury decides whether the prosecutor has proven the accused's guilt .

If the police investigate but decide not to lay charges, or they decide not to investigate at all, you can apply for a private prosecution. In a private prosecution, an individual asks the court to the person they believe committed a crime.

To apply for a private prosecution, you must have to believe that someone committed a crime. This means that you can't just have a feeling or a suspicion. Your belief must be based on reliable information.

To apply for a private prosecution, you need to complete an application and send it to the . A (JP) will review your application. The JP will decide whether to approve or refuse your application. If your application is approved, you will go to a and present your . If there is enough evidence, the JP will issue a or that tells the accused that they must come to court and answer the charges against them.

CLEO's Guided Pathway for Private Prosecutions can help you apply for a private prosecution for certain crimes involving gender-based violence.

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