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Crown Pre-Trials and Resolution Meetings


Don't have a Pre-Trial or a Resolution Meeting until you have consulted with a lawyer in his or her office.

On your First Appearance in Court you may be encouraged by the Crown, the Court, or duty counsel to have the duty counsel conduct a "Resolution Meeting" with the Assistant Crown Attorney. That could be disadvantageous to you for several reasons. The duty counsel will only have a few minutes to spend with you and to skim the disclosure before any meeting with the Crown. That is not adequate preparation for a Resolution Meeting. The duty counsel and the Assistant Crown Attorney may both be Junior lawyers. Unfortunately the Crown is sometimes asked to take a guilty plea position without adequate preparation by opposing counsel. That may leads to notes being endorsed on the Crown package that cause difficulties for your own properly retained counsel in subsequent negotiations. I have also seen cases where the Junior Crown takes a ridiculously low plea/sentencing position (after a meeting with equally Junior duty counsel), is later corrected by a Senior Crown, and then the offer of settlement is withdrawn after the young person has completed volunteer community service.


You are far better off to simply adjourn for three weeks, get your disclosure, and book an appointment with your lawyer face-to-face. In a lawyer's office you can talk in confidence about the disclosure, about what really happened, and the best outcomes possible from negotiation or trial.


After proper preparation, your fully-retained lawyer may decide to conduct a Resolution Meeting on your behalf. Your fully-retained lawyer will be in a far better bargaining position to negotiate with the Assistant Crown Attorney, whether the Crown is Junior or Senior. Your lawyer will also be able to drive a hard bargain by suggesting to the Crown that there will be a lengthy trial if issues are complex


A Crown Pre-Trial is pretty much the same thing as a Resolution Meeting except that the focus is on identifying the particular issues that will require a number of witnesses, legal argument, and Court rulings. Sometimes lawyers need to schedule a pre-Trial hearing to determine an issue (such as missing disclosure) or a trial within a trial (a Voir Dire) to determine voluntariness and admiissibility of Statements or other disputed evidence. Any Crown Pre-Trial should be conducted by your fully-retained lawyer.


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