Glossary of Legal Terms
Colour of right
A defence to certain charges, it is the honest belief that an act is justifiable. In cases of theft, it refers to an honest belief or mistake regarding the ownership of property.
Lawyers who act for the federal, provincial and territorial governments and prosecute people accused of crimes on behalf of the Crown.
Proceedings outside the formal court process. Examples include police warnings, referrals to community programs and Crown cautions. Extrajudicial measures are seen as an effective response to less serious youth crime.
Indictable offences are the most serious offences under the Criminal Code and they come with more serious punishments, up to a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The Supreme Court of Canada has said that reasonable doubt “falls much closer to absolute certainty than to proof on a balance of probabilities” and “that something less than absolute certainty is required, and that something more than probable guilt is required."
Intentionally taking an item from a merchant without paying for it. It is a form of theft and offenders can be charged.
Summary convictions are used for lesser offences with penalties, fines and short jail time. They reflect the majority of offences as defined in the Code.