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How a Criminal Trial Works

Exploring the Canadian Criminal Justice System

An Overview of the Criminal Trial Process

If you have been charged with a crime in Canada, you should consult with a criminal defence lawyer in your area

How a Criminal Trial Works - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Legal Terms

Crown prosecutor

Lawyers who act for the federal, provincial and territorial governments and prosecute people accused of crimes on behalf of the Crown.


An accused person has the right to the disclosure of all relevant information  in the possession of the Crown, with the exception of privileged information. This typically occurs before the accused has to decide whether to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.


Evidence, which can include testimony, documents, expert statements or photographs, can be introduced by either side to support that a position is either true or not true. Any evidence introduced must be relevant to the case at hand.

Indictable offence

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.


Canadian citizens over the age of 18 called to hear evidence and render a verdict or recommendation in a coroner’s inquest or a civil or criminal trial.


Someone who gives evidence in a court proceeding. Witnesses usually possess knowledge or proof that is relevant to the facts of a case and they convey their relevant knowledge under oath.

How a Criminal Trial Works - Tagged With:
Code Citations: s.11(e)
How a Criminal Trial Works - Referenced Links