Covid 19 Pandemic's Impact On Domestic Assault Cases
I want to talk to you today on how the COVID-19 pandemic has effected domestic assault cases in Ontario. As you are probably our court system was paused to a certain extent from March until July. Sixth was actually the date. Now on July sixth the courts have been opened in a limited way. The resumed trials but there’s only a few courthouses, courtrooms that is, that has been renovated in each city. So it’s open in a limited way. Trials have resumed. Here’s the issue though. This summer people come to me and they would hire us and they would say “look, I want to set my date for trial”. Well if they wanted to set their date for trial, we couldn’t do that this summer, it had to go over in ten week increments. But I was able to do the normal steps in the file, and get it ready to set for trial. Now that’s it’s July sixth, we are setting those days for trial. Now for other people who wanted to resolve their matter. We were getting great deals, there was a perception of delay, because of a cascading delay of cases being put over, the Crown Attorneys were very concerned about cases being thrown out. So we were getting more conditional discharges than normal. That is, we were avoiding criminal records. In some cases, we were getting peace bonds which is un heard of. I was actually shocked at the amount of deals that we were getting. So there was a great benefit to hiring a lawyer this summer. There’s still is because what’s going on right now, is that our courts are only opened in a limited way. As for example in Kitchener and Windsor, just as an example, only two trial courtrooms are opened. So there’s still this pressure on the Crowns to move the cases. They are going to likely to be offering deals and they are. WE are getting great deals every day for domestic assault. The other benefit to hiring a lawyer is this. You know, sometimes on a minor domestic assault, the spouse, the significant other, whether the victim that is, the husband, or wife, they want to get back together, it was a minor assault, there hasn’t been ongoing violence. The only way that’s going to happen is if you plead guilty and have what they call, “revocable consent” where you are allowed to go home. So the sooner you do that, sooner you go home and get into counselling. We hear often, people always think of criminal lawyers are getting people “off” or trying to win cases. We are also trying to get couples back together, who want to, where there’s only minor violence, and we offer these clients counselling. So those are some of the benefits of what’s going on. It’s never been a better time to hire a lawyer right now because the deals are happening, the perception of delay is happening, and I believe the Crowns are going to continue to move their files, and they were also to come to grips with there are no reasonable prospect to conviction, which happens. Sometimes there’s false allegations believe it or not in domestic assault, there’s no questions there is, and the Crowns really need to look at those cases, and they are. They are offering deals in many cases, right now and I would encourage you to hire a lawyer right now. There’s never been a better time in the province to hire a lawyer right now.