People who’ve been charged with crimes across the province of Ontario often reach out to us on a daily basis and speak to our staff or speak to our lawyers and the first question they ask is “how does my case look? Is it defendable?” And what we say and this is the facts, we really cannot assess your case until we receive all of the police reports and the disclosure.
Now if you retain us what’s going to happen is you get a court date about 3 to 6 weeks after your date of your arrest. The Crown Attorney’s office in the province, they try to strive to have that disclosure available by the first court appearance, often on the first court appearance. They don’t have to. It often doesn’t show up until after but let’s assume we get it at the first court appearance. Now we’re in a position to sit down with you, review that disclosure very carefully, receive your complete version of events from A to Z and sit down with you and say look here are the defences in your case. Here are the potential odds of winning within a range. Cases break down frankly through look there’s no chance of winning you’ve confessed and they’ve got 8 witnesses to well its slightly defendable 50/50, looking good. Very few cases are a slam dunk but that’s a rarity but some are.
So you really need those police reports because need the Crown’s version of events assessed in the context of your version of events for a good lawyer to say look there’s Charter defences here, there’s self-defence here, the police made multiple mistakes on a DUI. We can then give you an opinion just like a doctor does after assessments, after x-rays, after all these diagnostic tests. Those diagnostic tests in a sense are in the police reports in conjunction with your version of events and that’s a process that takes many hours of review and it doesn’t happen at the first meeting before we have the disclosure.