A disclosure lawyer can assist with the procedure governing the exchange of information between the Crown and the accused person. The relationship is not equal: the Crown must disclose all relevant information under its control to the accused person for use in his or her defence. The accused person has no corresponding obligation. The right to full disclosure is a Charter protected right: all accused persons are entitled to full answer and defence. Contact our office for a free 30 min consultation to discuss your rights.
Crown disclosure typically consists of the police investigative file, meaning the reports and exhibits generated by the police in the course of their criminal investigation. What that consists of depends on the type of file. A simple assault may only generate an occurrence report, an audio-recorded witness statement, and the charging documents. More complex trials, like a homicide, may generate enormous disclosure, including audio/video-recorded interviews, surveillance footage, search warrants, thousands of pages of officers’ reports, and specialist reports from toxicologists, medical examiners, and forensic pathologists, among other things.
Crown disclosure may be incomplete: reports may not have been provided, or the Crown may withhold information believing it irrelevant. Moreover, third party information is not provided by the Crown unless the accused person brings an application demonstrating its importance. Third party information can include critical information like medical reports, breathalyzer maintenance records, and information from other government entities like Child Services.
Obtaining and reviewing disclosure is critical to a successful criminal defence. Obtaining complete disclosure of the case to meet is the first step in a criminal defence. Accused persons without counsel may not even realize the information that they are missing or may jeopardize their ability to obtain critical third-party information by proceeding without legal advice. Moreover, disclosure review – assessing the strength of the Crown’s case and determining its weaknesses and the available defences – is unlikely to be completed effectively by an accused person without the assistance of experienced defence counsel.
If you have any questions, contact our offices now so we can help address you or your loved one’s legal jeopardy. We are available 24/7. We are forceful advocates and we ensure that our clients throughout Alberta are provided with the best defence possible.