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Report Card on the Criminal Justice System - MacDonald-Laurier Institute

suffolkowner

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I notice Ontario gets a bad grade on both the conviction rate and dismissal rate. Do you think this is due to people being charged that shouldn't be or due to the crown not doing a proficient enough job at prosecution? 
 

The Bread Guy

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suffolkowner said:
I notice Ontario gets a bad grade on both the conviction rate and dismissal rate. Do you think this is due to people being charged that shouldn't be or due to the crown not doing a proficient enough job at prosecution?
Or is there any link to how loooooooong some might be waiting for trial leading to cases being dropped?
 

FJAG

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suffolkowner said:
I notice Ontario gets a bad grade on both the conviction rate and dismissal rate. Do you think this is due to people being charged that shouldn't be or due to the crown not doing a proficient enough job at prosecution?

It seems, based on the article, that Ontario doesn't have a pre-charge screening process. Ontario police have authority to lay charges on reasonable and probable grounds, without a prosecutor involved in the initial charge process.

Once prosecutors get the files they review them to determine if there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction.

The police standard is lower than that required by prosecutors and therefore a number of charges will be stayed pretrial than in jurisdictions where a prosecutor's pre-charge screen was conducted.

In my view, a pre-charge screening process (like DND has for courts martial) is very helpful in reducing the up front load on the court system.

:cheers:
 

brihard

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FJAG said:
It seems, based on the article, that Ontario doesn't have a pre-charge screening process. Ontario police have authority to lay charges on reasonable and probable grounds, without a prosecutor involved in the initial charge process.

Once prosecutors get the files they review them to determine if there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction.

The police standard is lower than that required by prosecutors and therefore a number of charges will be stayed pretrial than in jurisdictions where a prosecutor's pre-charge screen was conducted.

In my view, a pre-charge screening process (like DND has for courts martial) is very helpful in reducing the up front load on the court system.

:cheers:

It's seldom a matter of the charges not being solid enough. It has everything to do with the court burden. Crowns in BC, where there is charge approval, will toss charges left right and centre, often on very flimsy pretexts. It becomes a way to hide the problem statistically. Charges become declined not based on the merits of the case but on purely logistical considerations.

Police are quite used to determining when reasonable and probable grounds and the elements of an offense are present. Adequate police supervision easily suffices to make sure that charges laid are solid. If logistics dictate a stay of proceedings due to court resources, better to have that plainly visible so everyone can see the problem and pressure the government to allocate more resources.
 

Colin Parkinson

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I can see pro and cons on both sides, my immediate concern would be police officers charging people under the Firearms Acts based on what they think they know, several cases here in BC of people having their firearms seized for not triggerlocking non-restricted firearms or police not understanding how magazine capacity rules work. In Ontario those would have been charges up front, making it more difficult and costly for the person to fight. At least here, they recommendations would be tossed before they went that far. 
 
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