As stated above, if disclosure is not available on the first court appearance, you or your lawyer will have to return court again to collect disclosure
. Again, disclosure is the entire police and Crown case against to. It is often referred to as “the case to met”,
and it is constitutionally provided to you in order for you to make full answer and defence against the Crown’s allegations against you. This process may occur a number of times prior to actually securing complete disclosure. It is imperative to ensure that disclosure is complete from a defence perspective. While the Canadian Charter of the Rights and Freedoms
constitutionally entitled a defendant the right to full disclosure, there is a competing line of authority that requires criminal defence lawyers (or self-represented person(s)) to be diligent is pursuing it’s request(s) for disclosure in a timely fashion. The failure of the Crown to provide timely disclosure in the face to diligent requests from a criminal defence lawyer, may result an application for a remedy under Section 24(1) or 24(2) of the Charter
. Those remedies were described by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Bjelland,  2 SCR 651, 2009 SCC 38 (CanLII).
The failure to do so may present procedural and substantive difficulties for the defence further along the trial of resolution process.
Your lawyer cannot do anything meaningful in relation to the trial process without disclosure. Once in receipt of disclosure, the next step is to discuss the case with a Crown Prosecutor. In Calgary and Ontario, this step is often referred to as an Early Case resolution or a Crown Pre-Trial Conference (CPT), and is by and large conducted at the Crown Prosecutors office when you are represented by Counsel. Often what is discussed whether or not the Crown intends to proceed on the charges against you. If Crown has elected to proceed to trial, the defence lawyer and the Crown Prosecutor may wish to discuss whether the accused will be pleading “guilty
” or “not guilty”
and/or what the penalty would be for the disposition.
If an accused person elects to enter a guilty plea, an admission of the facts that form the basis of the offence/charges as stated on the Information before the court is required. Once you have decided to plead
guilty, a date will be scheduled for plea in one of the disposition court rooms in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. In some cases, the Crown and defence counsel may jointly ask for the same sentence. This is often referred to as a joint recommendation. In other cases, the Crown and defence counsel may disagree on the appropriate sentence. In that scenario, both parties would likely petition the judge for completely different sentences. Ultimately, it is up to the judge to impose the appropriate sentence based on the specific facts of each case and the details of the offender being sentenced. In the event that an accused person changes his or her mind and does not wish to plead guilty, a trial date is scheduled.
If you enter a not guilty plea, then the plea will likely result in setting the matter down for trial with the assistance of the Case Management Office at the Court House in Calgary. If the case will be proceeding to a trial, the Crown and defence lawyer may discuss which witnesses are required for trial; and may estimate the length of trial time required to hear the matter so an appropriate trial date can be obtained. This is often based on the estimate give by the Crown required to present its case. In our opinion, it is imperative to ensure that accurate representations are made at this juncture to the Court regarding Trial Counsels availability, in light of the recent Court decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada on your right to have a trial within a reasonable period of time under section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms