I’m glad you can join me today for the video tip of the day, and I want to answer a question for you.
Clients often ask me: how long does the typical indictable criminal matter take in the court system – from the first appearance, right through to the jury trial (a judge or jury).
And I’ll answer that question in the context of the Ontario Court of Justice, and also if you elect for a higher court. And I also want to refer you to a much more detailed video I have on this topic about the typical court process for indictable matters, a more lengthy video. This one’s gonna focus more on the time limit.
So what’s gonna happen is that you’re going to be charged by police, and they’re going to give you a court date – maybe five, six weeks down the road in the Ontario Court of Juctice. You’re going to be then in the remand system, in front of a Justice of the Peace. And what happens there is that you’re gonna be in that remand court – depending on the case, let’s take a sexual assault case for example, maybe two or three monnths. Five months at the outside.
At the end of that process, you’re going to be expected to be in a position to set a trial date. The courts going to demand that of you, and depending on the county, they’ll put pressure on you before three months. You’ll then set a judicial pre-trial, that’s a management function for a court-time meeting with the judge, and the crown, behind closed doors. The accused is not present for it. You’re got a trial date; if it’s in the Ontario Court of Justice, that’s what you’ve elected, it’s gonna be four to twelve months after that. So your case could be wrapped up – if it’s an indictable offence where you elect the Ontario Court of Justice – in as little as seven months. In most counties that’s a miracle, and maybe up to fifteen or so. If it moves beyond eighteen you’re maybe into a ‘delay’ argument.
So let’s take another example where you’ve elected either judge-alone, or judge-and-jury, in the Superior Court of Justice, with a preliminary hearing. Going through the same process – you’re gonna have the same timeline – except at the end of the judicial pretrial in the Ontario Court of Justice, you’re gonna set a hearing date, which again is going to be down the road four or six or ten or twelve months (max). After your commital for trial, once you’ve had the preliminary hearing, you’re going to be likely committed to trial. Usually, it’s such a low test. And then you move through the Superior Court of Justice, you go through the same remand process, but probably shorter. Maybe one or two remand appearances. A month or two in, we’re ready to set a judicial pretrial date. Once we have that date, then we set either the jury trial or the judge-alone trial. Maybe some counties you’ll get the trial in four months, but let’s say four to twelve months. So when you add up all those periods of time for an indictable matter, where you elect a judge-alone or a judge-and-jury, it could be as much as thirty months of time. Most likely less. I’m gonna say eighteen months or two and a half years depending on the county. And one of the counties that really burn is Brampton.
So there you have it – that’s the timeline. It varies throughout the province. And I want to thank you for joining me for the video tip of the day.