When Charges are Laid in a Domestic Dispute - What to Expect


Published on

Recorded on May 31, 2012 - This webinar looks at the legal process when criminal charges are laid in a domestic dispute. It covers the complete process, from police involvement to the resolution of the case, and what women can expect, whether they are the complainant or the accused. This webinar is produced by METRAC (The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children) as part of the Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) series. Presenters are Tamar Witelson, Legal Director at The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC), and Karen Bellinger, legal counsel at Downtown Legal Services, a community-based, student legal clinic at the University of Toronto law school.
Watch this webinar at: http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/webinar/when-charges-are-laid-domestic-dispute-what-expect

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

When Charges are Laid in a Domestic Dispute - What to Expect

  1. 1. This webinar is brought to you by  Your Legal Rights: a website of legal  information for people in Ontario. www.yourlegalrights.on.ca Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO and funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.
  2. 2. When Charges Are Laid In A Domestic Dispute – What To Expect May 31, 2012 Tamar Witelson, Legal Director, METRAC Karen Bellinger, lawyer, Downtown Legal Services f il l g y g www.onefamilylaw.ca 31/05/2012 2
  3. 3. METRAC METRAC, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children works to end violence against women youth and childrenworks to end violence against women, youth and children a not-for-profit, community-based organization www.metrac.org METRAC’s Community Justice Program provides accessible legal information and education for women and service providers focuses on law that affects women, from diverse backgrounds,g especially those experiencing violence or abuse FLEW Family Law Education for Women in OntarioFLEW, Family Law Education for Women in Ontario provides information on women’s rights and options under Ontario family law in 14 languages, accessible formats, online and in print www onefamilylaw cawww.onefamilylaw.ca 31/05/2012 3
  4. 4. Presenters Tamar Witelson L l Di t METRAC Karen Bellinger L D L l S iLegal Director, METRAC Lawyer, Downtown Legal Services 31/05/2012 4
  5. 5. Topics to be Covered 1. Police at the Scene of the Dispute 2. Victim/Witness Assistance Program 3. Bail Hearing 4. Can the Complainant Withdraw Charges? 5. Set Date Appearance in Court 6. Pre-Trial Meeting with Crown Counsel 7. Complainant Input Before Trial 8. Complainant’s Role at Trialp 9. Complainant Input After Trial 10. Peace Bonds 11. Additional Resources Accurate as of the date of this webinar presentation: May 31, 2012 31/05/2012 5
  6. 6. E lExample Scenario 31/05/2012 6
  7. 7. Example Scenario Marissa and Paul have been living together for 3 years. They have a son who is 1 year old. p They both work, but money is tight at the end of the month, and often that’s when they quarrel, especially when he has been drinkingdrinking. Last week they were yelling at each other and Paul threw an empty bottle at Marissa It missed her but shattered on theempty bottle at Marissa. It missed her, but shattered on the wall. She was shocked and a bit scared so she called 911She was shocked and a bit scared, so she called 911. When the police heard what had happened and saw the broken glass they charged Paul with assaultglass, they charged Paul with assault. 31/05/2012 7
  8. 8. P li t th S f thPolice at the Scene of the Disputep 31/05/2012 8
  9. 9. Police at the Scene of the Dispute • Police will look around, ask Marissa, Paul and neighbours questions p • Police will question Marissa and Paul separately • Marissa and Paul should be honest and ticooperative 31/05/2012 9
  10. 10. Police at the Scene of the Dispute Mandatory Charging • based on reasonable and probable grounds li t l d ti lt h p • police must lay a domestic assault charge • police will charge and arrest the “dominant aggressor” Dual Chargingg g • both Paul and Marissa could be charged • only with police supervisor’s permission Person who is ChargedPerson who is Charged • will go to police station for processing • likely be released on conditions • could be held until bail hearingg Complainant • should get name and badge number of officer in charge 31/05/2012 10
  11. 11. Vi ti /Wit A i tVictim/Witness Assistance Programg 31/05/2012 11
  12. 12. Victim/Witness Assistance Programg • Free Ontario government programFree Ontario government program • V/WAP worker helps complainants after charges arep p g laid: o Explains justice system and process P f to Prepares for court o Provides details about bail and probation orders o Helps with Victim Impact Statemento Helps with Victim Impact Statement o Arranges interpreters and other accommodations o Refers to counseling and safety resources 31/05/2012 12
  13. 13. Victim/Witness Assistance Programg • V/WAP works with Crown Counsel • No confidentiality with V/WAP worker or Crown CounselCounsel • Complainant’s information may be shared withComplainant s information may be shared with accused’s lawyer 31/05/2012 13
  14. 14. Victim/Witness Assistance Programg • Police or Crown Counsel will set up contact withPolice or Crown Counsel will set up contact with complainant • Or call directly o (416) 314-2447 (Greater Toronto Area) 1 888 579 2888 (t ll f )o 1-888-579-2888 (toll free) http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ovss/programs.asp#vwap 31/05/2012 14
  15. 15. B il H iBail Hearing 31/05/2012 15
  16. 16. Bail Hearing • “bail” is the temporary release of accused before t i ltrial • “bail hearing” determines if accused kept in jail or• bail hearing determines if accused kept in jail or released, maybe with conditions, before trial • Accused must get a bail hearing within 24 hours of arrest • Complainant should tell police if she is afraid, if accused is releasedaccused is released 31/05/2012 16
  17. 17. Bail Hearing • Complainant rarely testifies at bail hearing • Accused usually released on conditions • Conditions usually include order for no contact with complainantp • Officer in charge usually tells complainant when accused is released and on what conditions 31/05/2012 17
  18. 18. Can the Complainant Withdraw Charges? • No, complainant cannot have charge withdrawn • Police decide to lay a charge P li t l h h th b li• Police must lay a charge when they believe on reasonable and probable grounds that a domestic assault has occurred 31/05/2012 18
  19. 19. Can the Complainant Do Anything to Help the Accused? • Yes, complainant can write a letter to Crown Counsel o If she is not afraid of accused o If she wants him homeo If she wants him home o Avoid discussing details of the incident o Ask a criminal law lawyer for advice 31/05/2012 19
  20. 20. S t D t A iSet Date Appearance in Court 31/05/2012 20
  21. 21. Set Date Appearance in Court • Accused goes to court • Complainant does not go • Purpose is to ensure all steps taken to resolve the chargeresolve the charge o Full disclosure o Pre-trial o Date set for plea/Peace Bond/trial 31/05/2012 21
  22. 22. Slide 21 JC1 Photo options Justice Coordinator, 25/05/2012
  23. 23. P T i l M ti ith CPre-Trial Meeting with Crown Counsel 31/05/2012 22
  24. 24. Pre-Trial Meeting with Crown Counsel • Purpose is to determine how case will proceed • Accused attends with lawyer• Accused attends with lawyer o If accused accepts responsibility, then negotiate Peace Bond or sentence If d d t t ibilit tho If accused does not accept responsibility, then negotiate Peace Bond or proceed to trial Complainant does not attend• Complainant does not attend o Will be contacted by Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP) worker for input 31/05/2012 23
  25. 25. Presenters Tamar Witelson L l Di t METRAC Karen Bellinger L D L l S iLegal Director, METRAC Lawyer, Downtown Legal Services 31/05/2012 24
  26. 26. C l i t I t B fComplainant Input Before Trial 31/05/2012 25
  27. 27. Complainant Input Before Trialp p • Complainant does not talk to Crown Counsel directly • Complainant does talk to V/WAP workerComplainant does talk to V/WAP worker o Afraid of accused o Afraid of what C i i t b t P B d t fo Can give input about a Peace Bond, terms of probation Complainant does not have to talk to accused’s• Complainant does not have to talk to accused’s lawyer (defence counsel) 31/05/2012 26
  28. 28. Complainant's Role at Trial • Complainant o Is a witness Gi id d tho Gives evidence under oath o Can review statement to police before testifying Co Cannot look at statement during testimony • Crown Counsel is not lawyer for the complainant • Complainant may get a lawyer, but has to pay 31/05/2012 27
  29. 29. Complainant Input After Trial Victim Impact Statement • After accused is found guilty • Complainant tells the physical, emotional, psychological,p p y , , p y g , financial impact of the offence • Cannot be about the character of the accused • Complainant can read the Statement in court, or have someone else read it • There is no cross examination on the Statement • Make sure Crown Counsel knows that you want to give a St t t 31/05/2012 28 Statement
  30. 30. Complainant Input After Trial Sentencing • If Paul is convicted won’t likely go to jail• If Paul is convicted, won t likely go to jail, because incident was minor • Most domestic assault sentences involve probation o “Probation” is a court order imposing conditionso Probation is a court order imposing conditions on the behaviour of convicted person 31/05/2012 29
  31. 31. Complainant Input After Trial Probation • Up to three years• Up to three years • Keep the peace and good behaviour • No contact with complainant, unless she gives written revocable consentwritten revocable consent • Report to probation officer • Usually required to attend Partner Assault Response Program (PAR) 31/05/2012 30 Response Program (PAR)
  32. 32. Partner Assault Response (PAR) Program • Educational counseling program o help abusers manage anger and alter behaviour o increase victim safety • 16 week program• 16 week program o 2-hour sessions o Once a weeko Once a week 31/05/2012 31
  33. 33. Partner Assault Response (PAR) Program • Usually a condition of: o Pre-sentence bail o Probationo Probation o Conditional discharge o Parole • Program completion usually required before a peace bond or conditional dischargep g 31/05/2012 32
  34. 34. P B dPeace Bonds 31/05/2012 33
  35. 35. Peace Bonds • A court order to keep the peace, imposing specific conditions on behaviour • Sometimes Crown Counsel will withdraw a charge if a Peace Bond is signedg 31/05/2012 34
  36. 36. Peace Bonds • in effect for up to 1 year • Can consent, in writing, to allow contact with subject of Peace Bond • Consent to contact can be orally withdrawn at any timetime • Breach of Peace Bond is a criminal offence 31/05/2012 35
  37. 37. Peace Bonds • Available at any time, with or without a criminal charge • Go to police or Justice of the Peace • Must establish fear for your safety your child yourMust establish fear for your safety, your child, your property is reasonable • May request conditions • Keep a copy with youKeep a copy with you • Not a guarantee of safety; part of safety plan 31/05/2012 36
  38. 38. Presenters Tamar Witelson L l Di t METRAC Karen Bellinger L D L l S iLegal Director, METRAC Lawyer, Downtown Legal Services 31/05/2012 37
  39. 39. Additi l RAdditional Resources 31/05/2012 38
  40. 40. Additional Resources Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services (VICARS) • Immediate, on-site service to victims of crime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week • Toll-free: 1-888-579-2888 • Toronto: 416-314-2447 Victim Support Line (VSL)pp ( ) • province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime • Services available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week in 13 languages • Toll-free: 1-888-579-2888 • Toronto: 416-314-2447 Court Prep www.courtprep.cap p • provides information on the Canadian legal system and prepares victims and witnesses to give evidence Ontario Justice Education Network http://www.ojen.ca Toronto: 416 947 5273 3931/05/2012
  41. 41. Resources (General) Law Society of Upper Canada Lawyer Referral Service http://www.lsuc.on.ca/with.aspx?id=697 • Toll-free: 1-800-268-8326 • Toronto: 416 947 3330• Toronto: 416-947-3330 • TTY: 416-644-4886 Toolkit for a good Client-Lawyer Relationship http://schliferclinic.com/vars/legal/pblo/toolkit.htm • Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic Ministry of the Attorney GeneralMinistry of the Attorney General http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ • Toll free: 1-800-518-7901 • TTY: 1-877-425-0575 Find a community legal clinic near you http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=cl 211 Canada.ca http://211canada.ca/ 4031/05/2012
  42. 42. Resources (Family) Assaulted Women’s Helpline www.awhl.org • Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511; TTY: 1-866-863-7868 T 416 863 0 11• Toronto: 416-863-0511 Legal Aid Ontario http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/default.asp • Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258; TTY: 1-866-641-8867 • Toronto: 416-979-1446 (accepts collect calls) Family Law Information Program (FLIP) http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/flip.asp Family Law Information Centres (FLICs) http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/type_family.asp Family Law Services Centres (FLSCs) http://www legalaid on ca/en/contact/contact asp?type=flschttp://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=flsc FLEW (Family Law Education for Women) http://www.onefamilylaw.ca/en/resources/ Ontario Women’s Justice Network (OWJN)Ontario Women’s Justice Network (OWJN) www.owjn.org 4131/05/2012
  43. 43. This webinar was brought to you by  Your Legal Rights: A website of legal informationYour Legal Rights: A website of legal information  for people in Ontario For more information visit Your Legal Rights at  www.yourlegalrights.on.ca For more public legal information webinars visit: www yourlegalrights on ca/trainingwww.yourlegalrights.on.ca/training