As per the Canadian Criminal Code, disclosure refers to the evidence the police gather as part of their routine investigation process if you’re facing a criminal charge. Suppose you get charged with a criminal offence. In that case, the law enforcement authorities will collect your disclosure and forward the evidence to the Crown Prosecutor’s office, who needs to “disclose” all this information to you or your criminal defence lawyer.
Things You Or Your Legal Team Can Review In Your Disclosure
Apart from minor limitations, you can request to review all the relevant evidence (whether inculpatory or exculpatory) as your constitutionally protected right. It means that you have the right to review your disclosure about your alleged crime before your first court appearance. This can include reviewing vital matters, like the police report and notes, witness statements, police interviews’ recordings, video footage, and other related facts.
Can The Police Or The Crown Bring New Evidence Or Witness To Court?
If you’re wondering whether the police or the Crown Prosecutor can bring a piece of fresh evidence or witness to court, which they haven’t informed you about, then the answer is simply no. Anything they intend to present in front of justice, they need to show to you or your attorney. Technically, disclosure is the government’s property, which your legal team can only utilise to defend you against your criminal charges.
Will The Judge Confirm Whether Or Not I Have Received Full Disclosure In My Case?
Yes, one of the first things the judge will ask you about is whether you or your lawyer has received your disclosure from the Crown, as per your legal right. Generally, this inquiry happens before determining whether you want to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. This allows you to know the case against you and make an informed decision as to whether you wish to negotiate a deal or go to trial.
How Can You Obtain A Disclosure About Your Case?
You can receive your disclosure from the Crown Prosecutor’s office. It’s worth noting here that obtaining disclosure from the Crown’s office is your responsibility, and you cannot get it automatically or without applying for it.
Typically, you or your attorney can receive your disclosure with the assistance of a duty counsel during your first court appearance. Alternatively, you or your lawyer can obtain it by submitting a written request to the Crown’s office.
Suppose, you are charged with a drug offence or any other crime that comes directly under federal jurisdiction. In that case, you’ll have to contact the Federal Crown Prosecutor’s office. Usually, charges related to Canada’s Criminal Code will come under the Provincial Crown Prosecutor’s office.
How Can Retaining A Criminal Defence Lawyer Help You With Your Case?
When you retain a criminal defence lawyer, they will obtain your disclosure for you. Receiving your disclosure at the early stages of your criminal case will help your attorney prepare your legal issue. That’s why it’s best to approach a dedicated criminal lawyer to assist you in getting immediate help even before your first appearance in court.
About Slaferek Callihoo
Slaferek Callihoo is an experienced criminal defence law company based in Edmonton, Alberta. Our highly skilled criminal lawyers will obtain your disclosure at the earliest and review it thoroughly and offer the best course of action on how to move on with your case. Visit our website to learn more about our legal team or contact us for expert legal guidance.