What happens at a first appearance? At a first appearance you typically receive disclosure. Disclosure is a package of all of the evidence the Crown has to prove the allegations against you. It may include police officer notes and witness statements among other things. Sometimes additional disclosure will be required. A charge screening form will often be included which tells you if the Crown is proceeding by summary conviction or by indictment, and a position on an early guilty plea. If you are applying for legal aid, you will need this form to show them.
Your matter will then be adjourned a few weeks. This may be for you to retain counsel, to receive disclosure - if it is not yet available, and/or for your lawyer to have a crown pre-trial.
What are Crown Pre-Trials and Judicial Pre-Trials? A Crown Pre-Trial is a meeting between defence counsel and the Crown attorney, typically by phone. It is counsel's opportunity to discuss things such as missing disclosure, the Crown's early resolution position, and time estimates for trial.
A Judicial Pre-Trial is similar to a Crown Pre-Trial except a Judge is also present. Judicial Pre-Trials are often required if a trial is going to take more than a day. The Judge may weigh in on things such as how long the case will take and help to focus the issues to be argued.
How do I get a bail variation? If you are on a recognizance or undertaking with conditions, you may want to vary those conditions at some time. Sometimes the Crown will consent to the bail variation and this can be done out of court. If the Crown does not consent to the variation, then an application has to be made in front of a Judge. If you are looking to change a condition on your bail, you can contact me to assist with this process.
What if I want to plead guilty? You should never plead guilty to a crime you did not commit. Before making any decision to plead guilty, you should consult a lawyer for legal advice. It is important to understand what the Crown's case is against you, and any defences or Charter arguments that you may have. I strive to find all possible arguments to fight for you.