What happens on my first court date for a criminal offence?
Question & AnswerWhat happens on my first court date for a criminal offence?
3. Ask for your disclosure
Even if you are offered , you might want to review the Crown's case against you. You will definitely want to do this if you have decided not to accept diversion.
Disclosure is the information that the police and the Crown have about your case. The may include:
- a synopsis or police summary of the case
- a Crown screening form
- a copy of the information
- police officer's notes
- witness statements
- surveillance video and photos
- financial documents
- medical records
- forensic reports
A Crown Screening form may be part of your disclosure. The Crown Screening form is also called a Charge Screening form. It tells you how the Crown plans to deal with your charges, including:
- whether the Crown will be proceeding or by if you have been charged with a
- what kind of the Crown will ask for
- whether some of your charges will be dropped if you early
- whether you have been approved for diversion
This information will help you decide how you want to deal with your charges. It's a good idea to have a lawyer review it with you. It is also helpful to legal aid intake workers if you are going to be applying for legal aid.
Your first court date
During your first court date, you may get disclosure from the Crown. There is no guarantee that it will be available at your first appearance or that you will get all of it. But you should ask for it.
You can't move forward to the next step in the court process without your disclosure.
You may have to go to court a few times to get all of your disclosure. The Crown must keep sharing information with you as more becomes available.
Each time you're in court, it is important to tell the court that you want to move your case forward, and that you can't because you haven't received full disclosure. That way, the court record will show that the Crown is responsible for the delay.
Before your trial
The Crown should give you all of your disclosure before your date. If the Crown gives you disclosure and it seems like things are missing, you should let the court know. Send a written request for the missing items to the Crown's office.