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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’

Should There Be Access To A Public Defender In Traffic Court?

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Today I went to the Toronto West Court Office at the York Civic Centre to look into a few things in preparation for a traffic court appearance which I will soon have to make. The alleged offence occurred, according to the ticket I received from a police officer, on December 31, 2010 and my trial is in December of 2011. As far as I know, this length of time is a violation of my rights as afforded to me by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, it is in violation of Section 11(b) which reads:

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;

And last I checked/heard the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that ‘a reasonable time’ is defined as 8-10 months. However, I am not a lawyer. The Prosecutor’s Office has professional lawyers because, quite obviously they are the Prosecutor’s Office and it is their job to make sure that people guilty of criminal acts are sentenced within our laws. But is that fair? Is it a fair trial when I am not granted access to an attorney of my own? Maybe not to represent me in court but to advise me in the lead up to being in court?

The reason I say this specifically is because I was in the Prosecutor’s Office filing for disclosure to be given to me and was speaking with the lady behind the counter – who I assume is an aid, a secretary, an assistant, or a law student  and not an actual prosecutor (but I could be wrong). I spoke with her about the length of time between my being ticketed and the upcoming court date and whether or not it violates Section 11(b). She refused to answer the question. Because I had already done some light research on the internet into the matter I then asked her where I could get the form necessary to file a complaint about these right being violated. Again, she refused to answer me. How is it fair for the every day untrained citizen Read more…

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