Our firm represents a lot of people who are charged with domestic assault or sexual crimes or sexual assault, and I’m always faced with this question, because, you know, most of these people are first time offenders. They’ve never been in trouble for life and say, well, Mike am I not allowed to lead evidence of my good character, my good deeds at court to show the Judge I’m a good person in my trial. It’s a really loaded question. And I want to I want to give examples of how this applies in Canadian law for specifically domestic assault, and sexual assault and other types of cases too. So it’s a really weird holdover for the Middle Ages, you’re still allowed in the Canadian courtroom to, you can’t first of all come to court talk about specific deeds and I’m a good person you can’t say that as an accused. You know, I suppose you could, but it’s just garbage, you shouldn’t, it doesn’t help at all. What you are allowed to do which is really a waste of time in domestic assault and sexual assault, I’ve seen some lawyers do this, it’s simply a waste of time because it’s not given any weight basically in this day and age. But you’re allowed to have someone from the community come who knows of you in the community who knows of your genuine reputation, and they’re not allowed to act about good deeds, but what they could say is that look, I know of Mike Kruse in the community and I know 40 people who know him and he generally enjoys a good reputation for honesty and peacefulness, non-violence. And you can lead that evidence in a domestic assault trial and the judge will look and go why are you leading this evidence because you know, I’m not going to give them any weight because what the heck does that have to do with a sexual crime because we know it happens behind closed doors. It’s really in this day and age given very little, if any weight, I’ll call it zero weight. It’s a bit of a holdover. We still have the rule. I’ve seen lawyers do it. I don’t know why they do it because I can tell you it’s a waste of time. Now, if you’re charged with a crime of dishonesty, like theft you could consider doing it might be given some minor weight from the Judge, but again, I as a Judge, or any one that’s a Judge says, well, what the heck does 50 people the community know about what this person really is like. Just because they present well in the community they could have been committing adultery, stealing, fraud, putting on a Ponzi scheme, whatever I mean, remember that guy who is defrauding people in the states and billions of dollars in the Ponzi scheme so it’s a whole number for the Middle Ages is still available. If I ever did a Judge is gonna be looking at me like why are you wasting the court time Mike in a in a sexual assault trial. In the odd theft trial I’ve done it just to say we did it because to appease the client. Judge gave it no weight.  Basically didn’t even comment on this decision when we actually won two of those cases. So now another thing is you have to be very careful to client, the client. I never want a client, you’re allowed when you examine the client to introduce their backgrounds. So what I say is well, the way we will introduce your character in a certain way is you’re employed, education, little bit of your background, we’re allowed to delve in a little bit of that not tremendous depth, maybe for a few minutes. The Judge is going to cut me off but that’s good. It builds you up as a person but I always say to the client, never state in court look I’m a good person. I’m not the type of person to do this crap that opens your character. What does that allow you to do? The rule is this. The crown is not allowed to introduce evidence of bad character of an accused unless the accused opens the door. So once the accused says I’m a good person, I would never do this. I’ve never I’ve never done this my life. I’m honest. I wouldn’t rape anyone I wouldn’t steal. Now if the crown has some dirt on you they can cross examine you on it. And I don’t know what dirt the crown has  on the client so I say to client never go down that route. So bottom line, general reputation evidence is a waste of time in most trials, if not all these days, maybe in a crime of dishonesty. When you take the stand never say you’re a great person, just leave your wonderful most honest person the world oh my god, we don’t know what the Crown has up their back sleeve about you I don’t know. And the crown is supposed to disclose that ahead of time but they don’t always do frankly. Their bad character evidence, I ask for it but there might be something that arises at the last minute. I might not know about a crime or dishonesty that you were charged with or something. So there’s a little bit of a primer on how you can introduce good character evidence just in a limited way about background and the rest is basically a waste of time. Now I want to mention to you that we have offices in the province we’re in Toronto, we’re in Windsor, London and Kitchener your physical locations and lawyers here to serve you. And we also serve all the cities in between. But if you have a if you want for example, a Toronto sexual assault lawyer, Toronto domestic assault lawyer, Toronto DUI lawyer, you can give us a shout or any one of our offices and we’ll help you out and get you the advice you need.

By Published On: August 5, 2023Last Updated: September 28, 2023Categories: General, Video

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