What is a Crown Pre-Trial?
A Crown Pre-Trial, also referred to as a “Crown Resolution Meeting” is a discussion held with the Crown Attorney and the Defence Lawyer that occurs before a trial is scheduled or a trial date is set. This Crown pre-trial is the first chance a defence counsel gets to speak to the Crown regarding issues related to the case at hand.
What is the Purpose of a Pre-Trial?
The main purpose is to confer about certain issues that might arise during the trial or discuss ways to resolve the case. This meeting is always conducted between the defence lawyer and the Crown. The accused is usually not present. If the accused is unrepresented, the Crown may meet with the accused only if the charges are minor and the case can be solved without the need of a trial. However, for more serious charges, the Crown is reluctant to meet the accused and will usually only meet with the defence counsel.
There are Several Reasons a Crown Pre-trial Can Take Place
Here are some examples:
1) Changing bail conditions – This is where you may want to change some of your bail conditions or terms, and the Crown needs to agree to this.
2) You have told your lawyer or duty counsel you want to plead guilty to your charges – You are considering pleading guilty, and you want to know what penalty the Crown would ask for. During this pre-trial, the defence can also negotiate some terms with the Crown regarding the potential penalty.
3) You are seeking diversion – A diversion calls for alternatives to prison sentences or settling on another form of penalty. It is up to the Crown whether they accept this form of diversion or not. This may depend on the severity of the offence or circumstances of the individual.
4) There is information that could lead to withdrawing charges – There are some situations where sharing information with the Crown will lead them to reevaluate the strength of the case at hand, and potentially withdraw charges.
5) There is something missing from your disclosure, and you want to talk to the Crown about it – Outstanding disclosure is a very common reason that crown pre-trials can occur. A missing piece of evidence or something that is undisclosed may have a huge impact on the case of the accused, therefore, crown and defence must meet to discuss some of the details.