I’m really glad you can join me today, my name is Mike Kruse, from Kruse Law Firm, and I am here today to talk to you about a critique of the Canadian or least, Ontario, criminal courtroom remand system. This involves the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice.
One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted is that our remand system, our case management system, in our criminal courts, is completely out-dated, it’s like a nineteenth or twentieth century anachronism, there’s no need for it. And I’ll basically explain it very briefly. In our court system, you get a first appearance, it might be four, three, four five, six weeks after you are arrested, and you show up or your lawyer shows up and says, look, I retained, this person retained me, and I need three or four weeks to report to the crown attorney, and speak to the crown and get disclosure. It’s a completely useless system. Its just a reporting system. You would have to go back to court three to four weeks, and say something along those lines. “Look, I need more time”, or “I need to set up a pre-trial with the judge or a crown pretrial with the crown”. Why do we need this system? We don’t. COVID has highlighted this because our cases are going over automatically, you don’t even have to attend. It’s presumptively that they are going over. What that says to us is “look, we can still do the normal steps, we don’t have to report to a Justice of the Peace every three weeks, we can just report those steps electronically, you are expected to do certain steps, and why do we have to keep going back to court like this? “ I would expect, I really believe, there’s a very good chance that they are going completely scrap our remand system, both in the Ontario Court of Justice level and the Superior Court of Justice level. Superior court of Justice is called assignment court. Again, it’s useless there in my respect of opinion and there’s other ways and means of doing it. For example, defence counsel and crown counsel could just be expected to complete the normal steps, let’s say three to four months, and send an electronic message,.“ Look , we completed the steps, we’re ready to set a trial date”. If the steps are not completed, then perhaps the judge could say, well let’s have a manage, let’s have an appearance, so you need to explain why this is not completed. It’s very simple, we don’t need to go to court every three to four weeks, and wasting time and particularly during COVID and particularly forever. This is something that should have been dealt with years before. And I can tell you this, there’s certain jurisdictions in the states, including the federal court system where they don’t even have remand appearances. You don’t need this reporting system, we’re in the twenty-first century now, let’s report electronically and do the normal steps in the file. Steps in a file are not done in the court room they are done outside of the courtroom and have been had this critique for many years, that COVID has really highlighted it for us in the Justice system. So I hope the Ministry of the Attorney General does the right thing, and gets rid of it so we don’t waste time every three to four weeks in going to court.