Can I have my criminal law trial in French?New

2. Ask for a French trial

The Criminal Code says that you must be told about your right to have your and with a judge who speaks French or both official languages.

The judge or justice of the peace at your first court appearance must tell you about this right and the timelines for making your request.

The deadline for making your request depends on what you’ve be charged with and the court where your trial will be held.

You can ask to have a French or bilingual trial as early as your first court appearance. But you must ask for a French trial no later than:

  • when setting your trial date,
  • when making your to have your trial before a judge alone or a judge and jury, or
  • at the time you’re ordered to stand trial after a preliminary inquiry

If you make your request on time, you must be give a trial in French. Ask a lawyer or if you’re not sure when your application to have the trial in French is due. Duty counsel won’t complete your application for you, but they can tell you the correct time to file and how to complete the application.

Ontario Court of Justice

The holds trials for people charged with an:

If your matter is being treated as a summary or absolute jurisdiction offence, it will be held at the Ontario Court of Justice. Your application to have the trial in French is due when you schedule your trial.

If you’re charged with an indictable offence, your application is due when you make your election. An election is when you decide whether you want to have your trial in the Ontario Court of Justice or the .

Superior Court of Justice

In the Superior Court of Justice, the deadline for filing your application to have your trial in French depends on your case.

Indictable offences

If you’re charged with an indictable offence, you can decide whether you want to have your trial in the Superior Court of Justice. You can also decide whether you want to have a preliminary inquiry in the Ontario Court of Justice first.

If you choose the Superior Court of Justice and a preliminary inquiry, your application to have the trial in French is due when you’re ordered to go to a trial. You will be given this order at the end of your preliminary inquiry in the Ontario Court of Justice.

If you choose the Superior Court of Justice without a preliminary inquiry, your application to have the trial in French is due when you make your election.

Section 469 offences

If you’re charged with an offence listed in section 469 of the Criminal Code, your application is due when you’re ordered to go to trial.

Direct Indictments

If a is preferred against you, you will be ordered to go to trial in the Superior Court of Justice. When this happens, the preliminary inquiry process is skipped and your case goes straight to trial. Your application to have the trial in French is due when your trial date is set in the Superior Court.

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