Welcome to our video. I’ve got a great question for you today. Did the five members of the 2018 world junior hockey team who are charged with sexual assault in London make the right election?

They elected, as you may have read in the press, by judge and jury. Now, a lot of commentators including some lawyers out there, think that’s the wrong election. I completely disagree. This completely keeps their options open and let me explain it to you. When you are charged with sexual assault and the Crown elects by indictment, you have a right to a judge alone trial or a jury trial and you can elect to be tried in the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice. So, they’ve elected judge and jury in the Superior Court of Justice. What does this do for them? Well, those lawyers will probably be able to find out who the judge is at some point, and the Crown will probably allow them to re-elect to be tried by judge alone if they want to.

Now, what does this do? So obviously, every judge is different. Some judges are favorable to the defence; some favorable to the Crown; some are neutral. So, after the pre-trial applications, which there will probably be in this case, they’ll be able to find out who the judge is and they can make a decision. Do I stick with the jury? That might be more favorable than this judge. Because a lot of judges convict and a lot acquit. Everyone’s different. Judges are just people. Juries are just people. So, with a jury trial, you’ve got 12 people, so they just have to convince one, for example, that the person is not guilty. And that would result in a mis-trial. And in many cases, you’re going to stick with the jury trial. So a lot of lawyers who are making these calls out there, I question how experienced they are doing jury trials, first of all, and second of all, the senior and experienced criminal lawyers I talk to, including all the lawyers in our firm, we invariably elect to be tried by judge and jury. We can then find out who the trial judge is and then make a decision whether to re-elect to be tried by a judge alone based on that judge’s predilections because we know the local judges.

Now I think all five lawyers, in this case, they’re not from London, so they’re probably going to be reaching out to local lawyers in London and asking about the judge they draw for this trial. So that’s an excellent election. It keeps their options open and it’s the best thing to do on almost any sexual assault indictable file. Now, I want to also let you know about a great video I did on electing judge alone, or judge and jury which more fully explains this. But that’s my view of this election being a great election, really the only election, that I would do for that particular case.

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