A Comprehensive Guide on Running Criminal Trials in a Provincial Court
Defendants in a criminal proceeding need the help of qualified criminal defense lawyers, irrespective of whether they are guilty or innocent. Being the protectors and advocates of the accused, these lawyers play a pivotal role in the Alberta’s Justice System; giving an opportunity to everyone charged with a criminal act to defend themselves. Only a qualified and experienced defense lawyer properly guides you on running your criminal trial in a provincial court.
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The Crown’s Case
The Crown needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed the offence. It is for this reason that they present evidence by questioning witnesses and also making legal arguments. In the case they fail to offer enough evidence, the case gets over, and you are not found acquitted. If the Prosecutor wishes to prove that you are guilty, they need to show that you committed the offence or there was an intention behind the offence. They should also reveal the identity of the guilty party and the time, date, and place of the offence. As part of the conclusion of the Crown’s case, after the cross-examination of all the Crown witnesses, the Judge questions the Prosecutor if there is any more evidence to call. The Prosecutor indicates that there are no more witnesses for the Crown or that the Crown is closing its case.
The Defence’s Case
If the Crown, however, provides enough evidence to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the trial continues. In such a case, you may present evidence and make legal arguments; showing there is a reasonable doubt or legal defence. You may present your defence via your witnesses, and testimony. The Prosecutor possesses the right to cross-examine your witnesses as you did with those of the Crown. Remember you won’t have to call any evidence, if the Crown fails to present enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, since in that case, the Court should acquit you. Additionally, you may also have an opportunity to ask additional questions from your witness, after the Prosecutor is done with their cross-examination. Once all your witnesses have been testified, you can ask the judge that you have no more witnesses to call.
The Judge’s Decision
It is the Judge who considers all the evidence from the Crown and the Defence; deciding if the accused is guilty or not. There are times when the Court adjourns for a few minutes before making the decision. If the Judge decides you are not guilty, you are free to leave. You don’t have any criminal record for the charge since you have been acquitted. If the Judge, however, says you are guilty, it implies that you have been convicted. You are given a chance to speak before you are sentenced, which is better known as “speaking to sentence”.
Though the process of running your criminal trial in a provincial court is easy and simple, hiring the services of a criminal defense lawyer is advisable for a smooth and error-free trial in the court.