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Judicial Pre-Trials in Youth Criminal Justice Court
Judges and Crowns don't like to have Judicial pre-Trials with unrepresented accused. Hire your lawyer first.
Depending on the Youth Court city / jurisdiction, if the trial is going to be a long one, there will need to be a Judicial Pre-Trial before a different Youth Court Judge than the one who is going to conduct the trial of the case. Both Crown and defence meet with the JPT judge behind closed doors and discuss the legal issues and the estimated length for trial. Sometimes a JPT judge will make suggestions as to how a case could be settled. Sometimes the JPT judge will strongly hint to the Crown that they have no case or to the defence that the case is overwhelming. It is a good and valuable process for long trials. You will definitely need an experienced lawyer to conduct a Judicial Pre-Trial.
Excerpt from Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice
Judicial pre-trial conference
4.2 (1) In this rule, “pre-trial” means a judicial pre-trial conference.
(2) Before attending the pre-trial, it is desirable for the parties to
(a) meet in order to attempt to resolve issues; and
(b) review the file.
(3) At the pre-trial, it is required that the parties have authority to make decisions on
(b) applications, including Charter applications, that the parties will bring at trial;
(c) the number of witnesses each party intends to call at the preliminary inquiry or at trial;
(d) any admissions the parties are willing to make;
(e) any legal issues that the parties anticipate may arise in the proceeding;
(f) an estimate of the time needed to complete the proceeding; and (g) resolution of the matter, if appropriate.11
Commentary Pre-trials are an important mechanism to provide the public with a speedy trial that focuses on the matters in issue. As such they are encouraged. A pre-trial held with Crown counsel should occur in advance of the judicial pre-trial, in order to focus agreements and admissions as well as the matters in issue. For the convenience of the parties, a pre-trial may be conducted by telephone with the consent of the pre-trial judge. A pre-trial on the record is particularly helpful for parties not represented by a licensee as defined in the Law Society Act. The court procedures can then be explained, the position of the Crown counsel on the issues can be related, and the issues set out in subrule (3) above can be canvassed.
(4) At least three days before the pre-trial, the prosecutor shall give the pre-trial judge a copy of a synopsis of the allegations, unless a local practice direction provides otherwise.
(5) If the defence gives the pre-trial judge additional material, it shall do so at least three days before the pre-trial, if possible.
(6) If the pre-trial judge agrees, the pre-trial may be held by telephone or by means of some other form of communications technology.
(7) After hearing from the parties during the pre-trial, the pre-trial judge may take one or more of the following steps:
(a) confirm or amend the estimates of the time required to hear the proceeding;
(b) set timelines for the exchange of materials on applications to be heard, or for the completion of disclosure on matters to be set for trial or preliminary hearing;
(c) set times for the hearing of applications; and
(d) set a date for a further pre-trial, if required.
Commentary The effective management of the proceeding requires the cooperation of all parties. Failure to properly advise the court of relevant issues at the judicial pre-trial or to provide proper notice of the matters under this rule has the effect of inconveniencing the public, the parties and the Court. As such, it is necessary to set guidelines or timelines. Failure to comply with such guidelines or timelines for the exchange of material and submissions may result in the matter not proceeding on the court date.
Record of pre-trial agreements and admissions
(8) At the completion of the pre-trial, any agreements or admissions may be signed or otherwise recorded, transcribed and attached to the information for the assistance of the trial judge.