Speeding Up Major Criminal Cases In Niagara Region
McGuinty Government Reforming Criminal Justice for Ontarians
Ontario and the Niagara Region are putting up a united front in the fight against serious crime.
The province has assigned a full-time Major Case Crown Attorney to work closely with the Niagara Regional Police Service from the early stages of complex and serious crime investigations right through prosecution. The Crown will:
- Provide pre-charge advice to police during major police investigations
- Provide assistance to police on investigative procedures including search warrants, wiretaps and undercover agents
- Provide advice on complex evidentiary issues and act as a resource for bail hearings to enhance public protection
- Prepare the Crown disclosure brief.
Assigning Major Case Crowns is consistent with the recommendation made by former Chief Justice Patrick LeSage and University of Toronto Professor Michael Code that the police and Crowns should collaborate more closely in large and complex cases at the pre-charge stage.
While Major Case Crowns work to move the most complex cases through the system, Ontario's Justice on Target strategy is working to expedite everyday criminal trials by setting targets to reduce court delays and appearances by 30 per cent over the next four years.
- This model of pre-charge collaboration between police and prosecution builds on the success of specialized anti-gun and gang Crowns that have been deployed to every region in the province to work with police forces from day one of their investigations and provide advice on a range of issues to support guns and gangs cases
“Embedding Major Case Crowns in police forces will help manage the size and focus of these large prosecutions. Police will benefit from legal advice early on, including the type of motions that might be made at trial with respect to evidence and how best to put it together for the courtroom.”
“Today's announcement is another instance of the McGuinty government acting to fight crime. This is a win-win situation for prosecutors, police and the community in our efforts to keep our neighbourhoods safe.”
“Dedicated Crowns in police stations will certainly facilitate faster resolution of major cases and they will ensure a more effective use of our police resources.”
“Assigning a Crown to our police service has immeasurably advanced and improved the Police/Crown working relationship. It has brought significant benefits to our police operation, and I believe a better product through the Court process.”