Absolute Discharge

An Absolute Discharge is a sentence made after an accused person has been found guilty, but is still allowed to walk away without any penalty. This does not really give the person a criminal record as regards to the offense made. This happens either when they find the accused guilty after the trial, or by an early guilty plea of the accused. No conditions are required in order to execute the absolute discharge. After one year, the information regarding the discharge is removed from law enforcement computers.


The term Accused is short for the Accused Person. This is the term used in the Canadian Justice System to refer to the person who has been charged with a Criminal Offense. This is in contrast to the American Justice System, which actually uses the term Defendant rather than Accused.


After the trial, a verdict will be chosen depending on the strength of the evidence. An Acquittal is the verdict that has been entered by a Trier of Fact, in which the Accused has been found to be not guilty of the charged offense.


An adjournment is when the court proceedings are suspended, to be resumed at a later time. There are many steps before a court proceeding is finalized. On your first time attending court, for example, the case will most likely be adjourned to a future date, just so that you would be able to speak to your lawyer and strengthen your defense.


An affidavit is any written statement of facts pertaining to the trial. This has been sworn under oath or solemnly affirmed to be true in front of an authorized official. Most of the time, affidavits are used as evidence in court proceedings.


An appeal is the judicial process that occurs when a party to an action is generally dissatisfied with the verdict of the original court proceeding, and attempts to appeal the party’s side to a higher court or judicial jurisdiction in an effort to review the decision and thereby revise it.

Appearance Notice

This is the legal document, also known as the Promise to Appear. It effectively requires the accused to appear in front of the court so that the accused can answer to the charges put on the accused. If the accused fails to appear, then a bench warrant for your arrest may be issued, and another charge for failing to attend court will be added.


An arrest is what happens when a person, more often the accused, is given a criminal charge, and then taken into custody in order to prevent the accused from committing any further crimes, as well as to investigate the accused further.


Assault is a criminal offence in which a person applies force or threatens to apply force on another person without that other person’s consent. The person must have the present ability to apply that force. The degree of the crime depends on a number of factors, such as whether a weapon or an imitation weapon was used for the assault, if it was an aggravated assault, a sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, or even assaulting a police officer.



Following the arrest, the accused is brought into police custody. Shortly after, the accused is brought in front of a judicial officer, who will decide whether to hold the accused in custody while waiting for the trial, or to release the accused. Sometimes, the accused can be released on bail. A bail payment is an ascertained amount of money assigned by a judicial officer and can be used to release the accused. It is also used as security to ensure that the accused attends any future court proceedings.

Bench Warrant

When a person has been requested to attend a trial or hearing, but has failed to do so, or was able to make an appearance but unable to remain in attendance, a judge can issue a bench warrant, to be carried out by the police. The bench warrant orders the arrest of the person, for failing to comply with the rules of attendance in court. Sometimes, the judge can issue a discretionary bench warrant, wherein the trial can be adjourned to a later date, and depending on his attendance then, they will arrest him or not.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Criminal matters generally have a higher standard of proof than civil matters. Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is required for criminal convictions.

Bodily Injury

Physical injuries to the body that have been caused from a physical assault.


A bond is a term in criminal law pertaining to a formal written agreement made between two or more parties in the presence of the court, in order to execute or fulfill an agreed-upon legal obligation. This legal obligation would usually be for one party to do something for the other, or to pay a sum of money, on an agreed-upon date or event.


Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a document that states the range of civil rights as well as individual freedoms of all Canadian citizens. It is a major component of the Canadian constitution.


A charge is a term in criminal law that pertains to an accusation made to a person who allegedly performed a particular offence as specified in the Criminal Code of Canada. In the arraignment, the charges are formally read in front of the court and to the accused person.

Conditional Discharge

A Conditional Discharge is a finding of guilt. However, this does not really give the person a criminal record as regards to the offense made. This happens either when they find the accused guilty after the trial, or by an early guilty plea of the accused. The difference between an absolute and a conditional discharge, however, is that a condition or set of conditions declared by the court must be fulfilled in order for the discharge to be absolute.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is part of Federal legislation that controls all things pertaining to the production, possession and distribution of drugs, as well as other dangerous substances. It also declares which kinds of substances can be declared as dangerous substances.


When the accused is found guilty, usually the sentence is conviction, which is the way the court formally decides that the accused has been found guilty. Once a person is convicted, it results in the person obtaining a criminal record.

Criminal Code of Canada

The Criminal Code of Canada is a document that is part of Federal legislation that puts into writing most criminal offences in Canada, as well as elements of the criminal procedure and how to deal with these various criminal offenses.

Criminal Harassment

Criminal harassment is the term for stalking and other related acts as categorized by the Criminal Code of Canada. It constitutes repeated acts of watching, following and harassing the victim, leading to generating unwanted attention and the possibility of using force to attain the victim. There doesn’t have to be an outcome in order to be considered a crime. Rather, repeated behavior of this nature is enough to be considered criminal harassment.


In a trial, witnesses can be called to the court by a party’s lawyer in order to testify and undergo an examination in chief by the party’s lawyer. After this examination, the opposing party’s lawyer cross-examines the witness.

Crown Attorney

The Crown Attorney, in criminal law, is the chosen lawyer who is qualified on behalf of the Government of Canada (or the Crown) in order to perform the duty of the prosecution of persons with criminal offenses.

Crown Prosecution

A Crown prosecution is a prosecution against a person who has been accused of a criminal offense against the state or its subjects. A Crown prosecution is usually handled either by a peace officer or a representative of the Crown.

Custody and Community Supervision

Custody and Community Supervision is also sometimes known as Custody and Conditional Supervision. It is a provision made in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or YCJA, that allows youth that have been convicted of a criminal offense to serve two thirds of their sentence in custody, and the last third to be served in the youth’s community, as long as the youth is under supervision by a designated person.


Dangerous Offender

A dangerous offender is a person who has already been previously convicted of a serious crime. After an assessment, he is deemed as being more likely to commit another offense.


When faced with a criminal charge, an accused person will have to appear in court and give a proper legal argument called a defence to demonstrate his case and show why the accused should not be found guilty.

Defence Counsel

The Defence Counsel in criminal law is the lawyer that is qualified to represent the accused person during the formal court proceedings. It is up to the defence counsel on how to properly handle each case depending on the context of the offense and the history of the accused.


The person against whom criminal charges are brought.

Direct Evidence

Direct evidence can be differentiated from circumstantial evidence, in that it directly proves the fact in issue and can be a concrete manifestation of that fact, as opposed to circumstantial evidence that still relies on an inference or inferences from other known facts.

Direct Examination

The first questioning of a witness before a trial.


There can be different decisions that can be made after criminal court proceedings. One of these options is a discharge, a special case wherein the accused person has been found guilty, but is still discharged. When an accused person is discharged, that particular person is also absolved of getting a criminal record.


Disclosure is a term in criminal law that pertains to certain acts allowing certain documents and materials available to be read and used by a certain party, as long as this disclosure is in compliance with legal requirements.


Also known as an Examination for Discovery. This is an opportunity for crown attorneys and the defence lawyers to ask each side questions about their case.


The closure or termination of a criminal charge due to improper procedure or lack of evidence.


There can be a way of resolving a certain case for an accused person to accept responsibility for a criminal offense and still have criminal charges withdrawn, and the accused person doesn’t have to obtain a criminal record. Known as diversion, it pertains to the act of the accused person accepting different tasks such as writing a letter of apology, attending counseling, performing community service or making a charitable donation. Diversion usually works in less serious cases. In some cases, the charges still won’t be withdrawn, but are rather “stayed”, which simply means that the Crown Attorney no longer wants to continue the prosecution.

Domestic Assault

Domestic Assault is a specific charge of assault that pertains to the action of harming or intent to harm a family or household member or partner. Things considered in a domestic assault offence are the history and context of the relationship, the frequency of the attacks or assaults, and the possibility of the partner or family member desiring to reconcile and get back together. While undergoing trial, a person accused with domestic assault may not be in contact with his family or partner, depending on the court.

Drugs & Narcotics

The production, possession or trafficking of drugs and controlled substances like narcotics can be the cause of criminal charges, as stated by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. A person may be charged of Possession of a Prohibited or Controlled Substance, Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purposes of Trafficking, Trafficking in a Prohibited or Controlled Substance, Producing, Cultivating or Growing a Controlled Substance and Importing, Exporting or Possessing for the Purpose of Exporting a Controlled Substance.



The illegal transfer of money, property, goods or services that, although obtained legally by the embezzler, is diverted to the embezzler personally by his or her fraudulent action.


The inducement, by police officers, of another person to commit a crime for the purpose of bringing charges for the commission of that artificially-provoked crime.


Evidence is information used to prove the facts presented at a trial. Direct Evidence, sometimes called Real Evidence, tends to be statements or facts that are beyond dispute. For example, if footprints are found (and photographed) in and around a crime scene, one cannot dispute the existence of these footprints. Circumstantial Evidence, is that which cannot be directly proven but which one might infer from direct evidence. For example, if a footprint matches the shoe of a person being charged with a crime, this does not prove that the person committed the crime or was present during the crime.

Expert Witness

A person who has developed skill or knowledge on a particular subject, through education or experience, and who is called upon to form an opinion that will assist either the Crown or the Defence in putting forth an argument or claim. It is important that the Expert Witness not appear to be advocating for one party over another as this defeats the purpose of the Expert Witness in assisting the court.



Something untrue is said to be false. False statements may be intentionally or knowingly or negligently untrue; or they may be untrue by mistake or accident, or honestly after the exercise of reasonable care.

Faint Hope Clause

In Canada criminal law, this clause enables a person, who has been found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole until more than 15 years of the sentence has been served, to apply for a review after 15 years.


Fraud is a criminal offence that is committed when a person takes advantage of another person or persons, and defrauds them of money or valuable security, property or service, by means of intentional deception for one’s personal gain. Fraud is somewhat related to theft as well. However, while fraud charges are usually laid out along with charges of theft, it is usually difficult for the Crown Attorney to prove fraud.


General Deterrence

A sentencing objective which aims to discourage persons, other than the offender, from committing a similar offence. These are generally harsh sentences used to “send a message” to others contemplating similar crimes.


Habitual Offender

A person who is convicted and sentenced for crimes over a period of time and after serving sentences of incarceration, demonstrates a propensity towards future criminal conduct.


Evidence that is offered by a witness of which they do not have direct knowledge. Instead, their testimony is based on what others have said to them.

Hung Jury

A jury which is unable to arrive at a required unanimous verdict.

Hybrid Offence

A Hybrid Offence is a term in criminal law that is applied to a particular criminal offense that can be tried both by summary conviction procedure as well as by indictment. Usually this all depends on the decision of the Crown Prosecutor. It is first served as an indictable offense, until the Crown deems the rest of the sentence to be served by way of summary conviction.


Identity Theft

Taking or using another person’s identifying information for the purpose of fraud or other criminal activity.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is a set of criminal offenses that can be committed when a person exhibits reckless behavior while driving, and upon further examination is found to have consumed alcohol before driving. These offenses are also collectively known as Driving Under the Influence, and are generally proven when a person’s blood alcohol concentration is seen to be more than 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood. When a person has this much blood alcohol, it means a fail in the alcohol test administered by a police officer, and can be arrested for impaired driving.


When an accused person has been proven guilty, a sentence has to be executed as penalty for his crimes. Most of the time, this sentence is imprisonment for a given period of time. Imprisonment is the acts of confining the said person in an incarceration facility such as a prison or jail.


The crime of sexual contact with a close blood relative, generally includes a parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild.

Indictable Offense

Depending on the type of criminal offense and the context of the offence, the Crown Prosecutor can either give an accused person a summary conviction or an Indictable offense. An indictable offense is a criminal offense that is more serious than a summary conviction. An indictable offense is subject to complex court procedures, such as a preliminary hearing in the Supreme Court of Justice, and it can have higher fines and carry longer maximum penalties.


A court order that prohibits a party from doing something (restrictive injunction) or compels them to do something (mandatory injunction).


Judicial Interim Release

A Judicial Interim Release allows for the release of an accused person through bail, when the accused person is in between the process of the committal for trial and the trial’s completion. Depending on the terms of agreement, the Judicial Interim Release may or may not contain some conditions for the release and may or may not require another person to guarantee the release.


A group of citizens randomly selected from the general public and brought together to listen to court proceedings and opposing arguments. At the end of the proceedings they are asked to assist justice by deciding which version, in their opinion, constitutes “the truth”.

Justice of the Peace

A Justice of Peace is a particular kind of judicial officer that has specific authorities. These authorities include a lot of things pertaining to criminal matters, such as listening to applications of bail, the issuance of warrants, as well as provincial offense trials.



To abduct and confine a person against his or her will.



A criminal offence, more commonly referred to as theft, covering the unlawful or fraudulent removal of another’s property without the owner’s consent.

Law Society

The Law Society is a statutory body where all lawyers are required to belong in. This body was created by the Legal Professions Act, and it governs lawyers. This includes supervising the admission of new lawyers to their legal profession, as well as disciplinary action for lawyers who may display misconduct during their practice. The Legal Society is headed and operated by 28 Benchers, who represent the geographic regions of the province, and they are elected by the members of the Legal Society themselves.

Leading Question

A question that is worded as to suggest an answer; usually answerable by yes or no.

Legal Aid

When a person is required to appear in court but cannot afford private counsel, that person can avail of legal aid, in the form of legal services, as well as advice, from specified government-appointed lawyers. This legal aid is provided for by the government at little or no cost to the person. Different provinces may have different legal aid programs. For example, Ontario has Legal Aid Ontario, which provides for legal aid clinics, duty counsel for persons, and even legal aid certificates for the hiring of private lawyers.



Characterized by, or involving spite or ill will, having evil or mischievous intentions or motives; malicious acts are wrongful acts done intentionally without just cause or excuse.


Unlawful killing of a human being without malice or premeditation.

Mentally Incapable

A person can be declared Mentally Incapable in court when it has been proven that the said person is not deemed to be capable of understanding information relevant to the case, or is not able to appreciate the consequences that result from certain decisions that they make or do not make. There are varying degrees and levels of capacity that can be utilized in order to make informed decisions and act upon these decisions.


A young person who not yet of the age of consent.


Mischief is a type of criminal offense that covers all types of damage made to another person’s property. It is committed when a person intentionally damages or destroys property with no intent to steal it, or renders it dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective. Mischief not only applies to private or public property, but it also applies to data when it is altered or damaged so as to be rendered useless. Damaging one’s own property is not considered mischief.


A partial or complete trial which is found to be null and void and of no effect due to some irregularity.



The failure to display or act with the care that is expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances.

No Contact Order

A No Contact Order is an order that may be given by the court to prevent a person from contacting or attempting to contact specified persons as stated in the order. These No Contact Orders are most commonly used in Domestic Assault offenses, when the accused person is no longer allowed to be in contact with the spouse or partner for fear of repeated offenses that may be committed against the spouse or partner.



When a person appears on court to make his or her testimony, he is required to take an oath, which is a solemn declaration that whatever the person is about to state to court is nothing but the truth. This is usually followed by a swearing to God.

Opening Statement

The crown attorney’s or defence lawyer’s initial remarks at trial, to the finder of fact, either a judge or jury, setting out a road-map of their planned case.



After a person convicted of a criminal offense is sentenced and has finished serving his agreed upon sentence, he may be granted a pardon if he has shown and demonstrated that he has reformed and become a law abiding citizen once more. When a convict is pardoned, it means that his criminal record, as well as all documents and information that pertains to his conviction are taken out of the Canadian Police Information Center (or CPIC), and is then kept separate for the other criminal records. At this point, the formerly convicted person is no longer required to disclose his records to anyone.


When a convicted person has shown improvement in behavior during his conviction term, it is possible that the prisoner may be allowed to be released early before his sentence is through. During these special conditions, the person may only be released back in public while under supervision for a given period of time. For that period, he will also have to follow certain conditions that may be imposed upon him.

Peace Bond

A peace bond is a type of court order issued to a certain person and prohibiting that person from threatening or harassing another person for a period of time. That period of time is usually given at duration of up to twelve months. Included in the peace order is a set of specified conditions that the court may issue and the person will have to follow, in order to maintain peace between the two parties.


An individual who seeks children as a sexual partners.


When a person or a witness is called to the stand in front of court in a trial, that person is required to take an oath that all statements that will be uttered are true and factual. If the person takes this oath or affirmation and still lies intentionally in front of court, this is a serious criminal offense called Perjury. Perjury can be committed either in person like when in front of the court, or through writing, in forms of statements and such.


Before any trial or hearing begins, a person who has been accused of a criminal offense has to first make a plea, which is a declaration of guilt or innocence of the charge. A person can either plead guilty, innocent, or declare a plea of insanity, in which case a person is considered not psychologically fit to operate in society.

Plea Bargain

Sometimes, in order to reduce a penalty or settle the dispute, an agreement may be arranged between the accused person or party (and their lawyer) and the prosecutor. This agreement states that the case may be settled if a given set of conditions are met. The plea bargain is then presented to the judge to be considered.


During a trial, a party in a given dispute relies on a pleading to support their defence or their claim in court. The pleading is the party’s written statement of material facts and law, and sometimes their case can be highly dependent on their pleadings.

Pre-Trial Conference

Before any trial, a set of ground rules must be established so that the court can work within these rules without deviating. A Pre-Trial Conference is a preliminary meeting that is set between the lawyers of both sides, as well as the judge. In the meeting, they talk about procedural questions and settle on a set of rules to be followed, as well as define issues that are to be tried. This is to narrow down the number of issues to those that are merely relevant to the trial itself.


A Precedent is a decision or a judgment made by a judge or justice in a previous case that can be used to decide for a similar situation in the same matter.

Preliminary Inquiry

When a person is accused of a criminal offense, a lot of steps must be taken before the accused person is actually put on trial. One of the first steps performed is the Preliminary Inquiry. This is a procedure that is made in the provincial court to see and determine if the Crown already has sufficient evidence for the accused to stand on trial. Usually, the result of a preliminary inquiry that has been conducted is that the accused person is either discharged for lack of supporting evidence, or ordered to be committed for trial.

Presumption of Innocence

The innocence of a person that has been charged with an offense is always presumed to be true, until enough evidence can be presented to prove his guilt without any reasonable doubt. This is actually a fundamental principle of criminal law, and is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Probation is a period of time when a convicted person is finally authorized to return to his community, provided that he follows a set of conditions that have been listed in the order.


When a person is accused of a criminal offense, he has to undergo a proceeding called a prosecution. A prosecution is when the said person is tried in front of court to see if he or she is guilty or innocent of the alleged crime. It is important to undergo this before a sentence is finalized and executed.


A prosecutor is a legal officer or attorney. The prosecutor can either represent an individual on a private prosecution, or it can represent the federal, provincial or municipal government in certain court proceedings, especially those for criminal offenses. Depending on their level, they handle different offenses. Federal prosecutors take care of charges of immigration and drug related charges. Provincial prosecutors handle criminal cases and municipal prosecutors handle matters pertaining to the Provincial Offenses Act.


Quid Pro Quo

Latin meaning: “something for something”



Interfering with trade or commerce by violence or threats.


Forcing sex upon another person (without their consent), other than a spouse.

Reasonable Doubt

A threshold of proof in Canadian criminal cases which requires the trier of fact to be sure, not certain, of the accused’s guilt, before convicting.


Recognizance is a legislated form that is used by the court. It declares the terms and conditions for an accused person to be released on bail or a peace bond. It also states the time when the person is expected to go back to court in order to make his or her appearance in front of the court.


A Remand is an order given so as to adjourn a certain hearing or trial to another day. This is usually done in most criminal cases, especially when the accused person is kept in custody.


A restitution order is an order made by a judge that orders or requires a convicted person to give acquired property back in order to restore the property to its rightful owner. If this is no longer possible, then the convicted person will have to compensate for the loss, or repair the damage that was caused by the offense.


A contract between a lawyer and their client, wherein the lawyer agrees to represent and provide legal advice to the client, in exchange for money.


Theft under threat or use of force.

Rule of Law

Law is the set of rules that a country general applies. The Rule of Law is a term that covers law and order, which is the basic principle that states that the powers of state, as well as its servants, have powers that come from and are limited or delineated by the legislation that has been enacted by the Parliament, or a legislature, or judicial decisions made by independent courts. The Rule of Law is as opposed to the Rule of Man, or the Rule of Force, which have governance by an autocratic individual or set of individuals and whose set of rules are made arbitrarily by those in power.

Rules of Court

The Rules of Court is a statute that states that every court is required to make provisions to ensure that the Rules of Court are the ones that actually govern the proceedings in the said court. Traditionally, these rules were made by judges. However, they are now made by an Order in Council after consultations with the Chief Justice. A court should have a Rules Committee that can advise people on changes in the rules.


Search Warrant

A search warrant is a written order that is issued by a justice under statutory powers. It allows a specified and named person to enter a specified area, place, receptacle, etc. to search and get specified objects or property. This property will be used solely to provide evidence of an offense allegedly committed by an accused person.


When an accused person is found guilty after a trial, the penalty that is imposed on the guilty person is called a sentence. There are various types of sentences. Most of these sentences involve imprisonment. A Concurrent Sentence is one where multiple terms of imprisonment can be served simultaneously. A Consecutive Sentence is where multiple terms are served consecutively. A Conditional Sentence is made for lighter offenses, where imprisonment is less than two years. The judge may order the sentence to be served in the person’s community, under strict conditions. A Suspended Sentence allows the guilty person to be released under certain conditions as written in an order for his probation. An Intermittent Sentence has periods of imprisonment in between periods of probation. This is usually for sentences for 90 days or less.

Serious personal injury offense

A serious personal injury offense is an indictable offense given to an accused person who has endangered another person’s safety and even life, or has caused serious psychological damage. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, aggravated sexual assault and threats or causing bodily harm to a person. Other indictable offenses are murder committed with violence, and high treason.

Show Cause Hearing

A Show Cause Hearing is a type of hearing that has the prosecutor being required to show some cause for the arrest and keeping in custody of the accused person initially, before the trial.

Solicitor-Client Privilege

When a person hires a lawyer, or solicitor, he becomes the solicitor’s client. This special relationship gives them both a Solicitor-Client Privilege, where they can withhold the transmission of their communications to each other from other people. This includes seeking, forming, or giving legal advice. This protects the client from other people who may want to use his words against him.


A subpoena is generally an official order given by a justice with statutory powers. When a witness for a particular crime has been identified, that person is normally given a subpoena commanding the person to appear on the trial and give his own testimony on the crime. This appearance is compulsory and you can’t say no to a subpoena.

Summary Conviction Offense

Once an accused person has been found guilty, the court needs to decide on his sentence. If the criminal offense was not that serious, the court can give the accused a summary conviction. Compared to indictable convictions, which is reserved for more serious cases, a summary conviction offence generally has lower penalties and consequences that are not as serious.

Criminal offenses are classified as either summary conviction or indictable. Generally, summary conviction offenses have lower penalties and less serious consequences.

Summons (to Witness)

A Summons to Witness is a document that has been issued by a certain court, agency, board, commission or another person, and sent to a person, requiring him to attend a trial or hearing, as well as to present documents and other things that might help make the decision in that particular case.

Superior Court

The Superior Court can be one of many superior courts all over the country that has judges who have been appointed by the Government of Canada. Some superior courts in particular include the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, the provincial Courts of Appeal, and Senior Trial Courts in every province.


A surcharge is any extra or additional charge that may be imposed on top of an already existing charge. A victim surcharge is a type of surcharge that has to be paid by a person who committed a criminal offense and has been convicted or discharged due to that said offense. Under the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and the Provincial Offences Act, the victim surcharge is a payment in addition to any other punishment that has been imposed, unless the court states otherwise.


Surety is when a person promises security to another person or gives security, with conditions or obligations that were imposed during a court proceeding and have to be fulfilled by the person. Otherwise, the security that is given to the person may be forfeited.


Tax Evasion

A form of fraud constituting an illegal act or omission which is designed to reduce a person’s tax liability.


Theft is a criminal offense in which a person commits the intentional taking or converting to his personal use or another person’s use, anything, whether animate or inanimate, in a way that is fraudulent and without any color of right. A theft is completed when the object that was stolen is moved, caused to move or be moved, away from its original place. Theft is considered a property offense, and includes retail theft, breaches of trust, workplace related theft, price switching and gaming offenses.


The selling or involvement in commercial activity of something for which commercial activity is unlawful, such as illegal drugs or weapons.


When a person is accused of a criminal offense, he has to be brought in front of the court to face a trial. The trial is an actual hearing of a legal issue such as a criminal offense, and involves the accused person and the accuser, which, in the case of Criminal offences, is the Crown. Evidence is brought to support either side, including witnesses to the crime. A sentence is decided for the accused depending on the evidence supporting or going against him.

Trier of Fact

In any given trial, there is a Trier of Fact, which can be the judge, if he is sitting alone or the jury if there are many of them. The duty of the Trier of Facts is to decide questions of fact, and not questions of law. This means that instead of regarding if an action is lawful, they question whether such an action can be factual.


Trust is the term for a relationship between persons, where one person is authorized to hold some property for the benefit of or on behalf of the other person. Trust can be categorized into different types. Express trust is created by a trust agreement. Implied trust is inferred by the law from the prevailing circumstances. Resulting trust dictates that the trust property has to revert to the original owner once certain conditions have been met. Constructive trust is for of remedy that is a recent development by law that requires that the person has to pay back or reimburse the property for a legal wrong such as unjust enrichment or fraud.


Unlawful Assembly

Three or more people gathering with the intent to commit a crime or to otherwise disturb the peace.

Uttering Threats

The criminal offense of Uttering Threats is a broadly-defined offense. The most common charges under this category are uttering death and uttering bodily harm. A person accused of uttering threats has knowingly uttered, conveyed or caused any person to receive a threat. While there doesn’t have to be any motive for the threat, the threat does have to be a serious one that conveys physical harm, death, or property damage, for it to be considered as a criminal offense of uttering threats.



A variation is a term used for a particular change or changes made to a legal document. Sometimes, changes are needed to be performed to a legal document such as a court order. At these times, such changes must be authorized by the court.


A judge or jury’s decision in a trial.

Victim Impact Statement

A Victim Impact Statement is a written statement that is prepared by a victim or the victims of a criminal offence and lists down the impacts that the criminal offense had on their own lives.

Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)

The Victim and Witness Assistance Program is a program that protects victims and witnesses of criminal offenses and gives them information, assistance and support. They are acknowledged as valuable assets to a case, so everything is done to increase their understanding of the case by constant updates, and therefore engage them to participate in the criminal court process as well.

Voir Dire

A Voir Dire is a French term that pertains to a trial made within a larger trial. This inner trial is done to determine whether the evidence to be presented by one party can be deemed admissible and usable in the given trial or hearing. It is required by law to have a Voir Dire hearing before a confession to a person of authority can be admitted as evidence. If a witness statement or piece of evidence is found to be inadmissible and irrelevant for the hearing at the end of the Voir Dire, the trial goes on without that specified evidence. The final sentence cannot be affected by whatever that evidence is or suggests.


  • Warrant

A warrant is a written document by a justice with statutory powers that orders authorized persons (such as the police) to perform actions such as arrests and such to accused persons. A warrant can either be an executed warrant or an unexecuted warrant. While an unexecuted warrant has yet to be performed, an executed warrant has already been performed and carried out.

Warrant Expiry

After a trial, once the accused person has been sentenced for his particular offence, the Clerk of the Court signs a Warrant of Committal. This important document not only certifies the imposed sentences by the trial and the proceeding conviction. It also gives details on the expiry of the sentence. This is detailed in the warrant expiry date, when the warrant of committal ceases to be effective and therefore no longer has power to hold the prisoner any longer.

Warrant for Witness

When a witness for a particular crime has been identified, that person is normally given a subpoena commanding the person to appear on the trial and give his own testimony on the crime. Once you are notified, it is compulsory to appear in court and take the oath to tell the truth. If the witness fails to appear in court, then a document called a Warrant for Witness is made requiring for the arrest of the witness who did not appear as ordered by the court.

  • Warrant of Arrest

A warrant of arrest is a written document issued by a judge or justice with statutory powers that orders and authorizes the police to arrest a specified person who is an alleged criminal offender.

Warrant of Committal

After an accused person is found guilty of the criminal offense, he is given his appropriate sentence. At this point, the Clerk of the Court signs a Warrant of Committal. This document is actually an order that requires the convicted person to be committed to prison. The Warrant of Committal also specifies the period of time the sentence will be delivered, and when the expiry of that sentence will be.


Under Canadian law, a weapon is any object that is designed to be used or intended for use in causing injury and even death to another person, or for purposes of intimidating or threatening a person. While this can include traditional weapons such as knives, firearms and items used for self defence, due to its broad definition it can cover even household items such as pens and baseball bats. Weapons, when used in a criminal offense such as an assault, make the offense more serious and increase the gravity.

White Collar Crime

White Collar Crime pertains to a set of crimes that can be committed by a person who is supposedly respectable and has a high social status, and uses his high status and white collar occupation to perform such crimes as false pretences, counterfeit money, falsification of books and records, real estate fraud, forgery, theft under power of attorney, securities fraud and money laundering. A complete list is covered on the Criminal Code. Usually white collar crimes can overlap with corporate crimes.


A withdrawal of a particular case can be made by the Crown when it finds no reasonable evidence or prospect to convict the accused person, upon which the Crown may agree to drop the case, or in other words, withdraw the case.


A witness is someone who actually has a firsthand account of the crime or event and can clarify important points in a case. He or she is the one who gives evidence during the trial. A witness can either be Compellable, in which the witness has to present evidence pertaining to the crime. They can also be Expert witnesses, who know everything about a particular field of knowledge and whose knowledge can assist the proceedings in some way.

Writ of Summons

A writ in general is a document that becomes the origin of various civil proceedings, and therefore has become a command made in the name of the Plaintiff. A Writ of Summons is a legal command of the court made on behalf of the Sovereign (or the Crown), which acknowledges the commencement of court proceedings. It happens by notifying the accused that a claim has been made in court and that the accused is required to respond with another document that acknowledges the power of the court and precludes the default proceedings.



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Young Person

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) of 2003, a young person is defined as one that is twelve years old and older, but not exceeding 18 years of age. Only at this age range can criminal and correctional law be applied to the youth. Under the YCJA as well, it is stated that persons under the age of twelve years cannot be convicted of an offense.

Youth Court (Youth Justice Court)

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) of 2003, young persons (persons under 18 years old) in Canada who have criminal offenses are not tried in the regular, adult court. Instead, they have the Youth Court, or Youth Justice Court, which is specifically designated to hear young persons’ criminal offenses. Special procedures are also performed for these cases with youth offenders.

Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)

The Youth Criminal Justice Act, or more popularly known as the YCJA for short, is a Federal statute that sets forth the various procedures on how to handle persons under eighteen in Canada who have criminal offenses. It also provides corresponding sentences, geared mostly for the rehabilitation and reintegration of these youths. The YCJA came into effect in 2003, and replaced the previous Young Offenders Act.

Youth Custody Facility

A Youth Custody Facility is a place where young persons with criminal offenses are held in custody, as stated by the Youth Criminal Justice Act. In most youth cases, custody in a facility is considered a last resort, and only when certain mandatory conditions are satisfied in the specific case. As much as possible, alternatives to custody are preferred when dealing with youth.


Zealous Witness

A witness who demonstrates disproportionate enthusiasm while testifying.

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