A Crown Resolution Meeting also referred to as a Crown Pre-trial, is a meeting between the Crown Attorney and defence counsel that usually occurs after disclosure is received and before a criminal trial is scheduled. It provides an opportunity for the Crown and defence counsel to discuss evidentiary issues related to the matter, possible resolution positions, outstanding disclosure issues and and trial time estimates. These meeting are meant to honest and frank conversations about the case. They help both the Crown and defence understand if there is a possibility that a matter can be resolved without the need of a trial or confirm that the matter is definitely heading towards a trial.
Crown Pre-trials are also a required procedural step before a Judicical Pre-trial meeting, which is meeting between the Crown, defence counsel and a Judge to discuss the matter and set a trial date or a preliminary hearing date.
Can I Attend My Own Crown Resolution Meeting?
A Crown Resolution meeting is always conducted between your defence lawyer and the Crown. If you are not represented by a lawyer, then Duty Counsel can often assist with Crown Resolutions meetings. A Crown Attorney will consider meeting with an unrepresented accused person if the charges are minor in nature and there is a possibility to resolve the matter without the need to set a trial. Given that the criminal justice system is based on an adversarial model Crown Attorneys are reluctant to meet with unrepresented accused on serious matters. They always prefer to meet with your criminal defence lawyer.
When Might A Resolution Meeting Happen?
A resolution meeting usually occurs sometime after your first court appearance on new charges and when you have received meaningful disclosure. Criminal defence attorneys have an obligation to meet with the Crown and attempt to resolve the matter before setting further court dates and trials. Sometimes matter just cannot be resolved and other times many Crown Pre-trial meetings are conducted to negotiate resolutions. The reasons for resolution meetings depend on the case. Here are a few reasons a Crown Resolution meeting might happen:
Attempting to Change Bail Conditions
Often your criminal defence attorney may request a resolution meeting is to negotiate a bail variation. Circumstances often change after a person is released on bail and their release conditions may need to be varied.
Overly strict bail conditions, such as House Arrest conditions, can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life. Bail conditions can change the way a person socializes with their friends and family and can impact a person’s employment. Crown Attorneys are often considerate of how bail conditions can impact a person’s ability to earn a living and provide for their family.
Seeking out the assistance of a Toronto bail hearing lawyer upon arrest can help ensure that the best possible bail conditions, for your circumstances, are negotiated at the bail hearing stage.
You Are Considering A Guilty Plea
If you are considering a guilty plea your criminal lawyer can negotiate the terms and sentence during a pre-trial meeting. Not every criminal case can be resolved prior to a trial, but depending on your personal circumstances and the allegations an early resolution may afford lighter sentences, may avoid a criminal record, and will put an end to the matter and bail conditions. If you decide to plead guilty a negotiated resolution at a Crown pre-trial provides some certainty as to how your matter will resolve.
Depending on the severity of the offence, your criminal record, and your personal circumstance diversion might be appropriate. A formal or informal diversion may be negotiated during a Crown pre-trial.
Diversion allows for alternatives to prison sentences, settling on another form of reparation. Whether or not they will accept the diversion is up to the Crown.
Evidence Missing From Your Disclosure
A criminal defence lawyer should always be considering the evidence the police have collected in their investigation. Often disclosure of evidence happens over a period of time after being released on bail and before trial. Outstanding disclosure is often part of every pre-trial conversation and resolution meeting. A missing piece of evidence or outstanding witness statement may have an impact on whether your case should proceed to trial or resolve by another means.
Information That Could Lead To Withdrawing The Charges
Another reason for Crown pre-trials is to share information that can influence the Crown’s consideration on whether to withdraw the charges. There are some cases and circumstances that no matter what evidence is presented to the Crown they will not be able to withdraw the charges, but at other times sharing information may assist the Crown in re-evaluating the strength of their case. This is often a judgment call that is best left to an experienced criminal defence lawyer. It is possible to share too much information that will only assist the Crown in the preparation of their case against you.
The Crown has a continuing obligation to always evaluate the strength of their case and their reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction. Once a case is set for trial does not mean that Crown pre-trial meetings have to stop. Your defence lawyer can always meet with the Crown to provide information that may assist in resolving the matter.
Hire A Toronto Criminal Lawyer
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Toronto, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer. William Jaksa understands that results matters for his client and has over 15 years of experience practicing criminal law in Toronto achieving the best results. He will help you understand your case, your options moving forward and how to get the best results.
Contact us today for a consultation.