section 555.1(3)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section states that if the accused chooses to be tried by a judge without a jury and requests a preliminary inquiry or chooses to be tried by a court with a judge and jury, the judge must continue the proceedings as a preliminary inquiry under Part XVIII.

SECTION WORDING

555.1(3) A judge shall continue the proceedings as a preliminary inquiry under Part XVIII if the accused is put to an election under subsection (2) and elects to be tried by a judge without a jury and requests a preliminary inquiry under subsection 536.1(3) or elects to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury or does not elect when put to the election.

EXPLANATION

Section 555.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is concerned with the process by which an accused person elects the mode of trial they wish to pursue. In general, an accused person has the right to be tried either by a judge alone or by a judge and jury. However, they must make this election before the trial gets underway. If an accused person chooses to be tried by a judge alone, they may still request a preliminary inquiry. A preliminary inquiry is a hearing that takes place before the trial. Its purpose is to determine whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial. At the preliminary inquiry, the judge will hear evidence from the prosecution and determine whether the case should proceed to trial. If an accused person elects to be tried by a judge and jury, they do not have the right to request a preliminary inquiry. In this case, the matter proceeds directly to trial. If the accused person does not make an election, they are deemed to have elected to be tried by a judge and jury. In summary, Section 555.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the options available to an accused person when they elect to be tried by a judge alone. It ensures that the accused person can still request a preliminary inquiry if they choose to be tried by a judge alone. It also makes it clear that the accused person must make an election, or they will be deemed to have elected to be tried by a judge and jury.

COMMENTARY

Section 555.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada lays down the procedure for conducting a preliminary inquiry in a criminal case involving an accused who is facing a trial before a judge without a jury or a judge and jury. A preliminary inquiry is an essential part of the criminal justice process where the prosecution presents evidence against an accused before a judge to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial. This section of the Criminal Code of Canada provides guidance on how a preliminary inquiry should proceed and the circumstances under which it should be conducted. The purpose of this section is to ensure that an accused facing a trial before a judge without a jury or a judge and jury is given an opportunity to have a preliminary inquiry if they so choose. The section provides that if an accused elects to be tried by a judge without a jury and requests a preliminary inquiry, the judge shall continue the proceedings as a preliminary inquiry. This means that the judge has no discretion in the matter but must conduct a preliminary inquiry if requested by the accused. Similarly, if an accused elects to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury, the judge shall continue the proceedings as a preliminary inquiry. This ensures that the accused is given the opportunity to have a preliminary inquiry, regardless of the type of trial they have chosen. The section also provides that if the accused does not elect when put to the election, the judge shall continue the proceedings as a preliminary inquiry. This is to ensure that the accused is not deprived of the opportunity to have a preliminary inquiry simply because they did not make an election. This provision ensures that the accused's rights are protected, and they are given a fair trial. The purpose of preliminary inquiries is to provide a fair and efficient process for determining whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. Preliminary inquiries help to prevent weak cases from proceeding to trial, thereby saving time, resources, and reducing the risk of wrongful convictions. They also help to ensure that the accused's rights are protected, and they are given a fair trial. In conclusion, section 555.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada lays down the procedure for conducting a preliminary inquiry in criminal cases where the accused is facing a trial before a judge without a jury or a judge and jury. The section ensures that the accused is given an opportunity to have a preliminary inquiry if they so choose and that the judge has no discretion in the matter. This provision ensures that the accused's rights are protected, and they are given a fair trial. Preliminary inquiries are an essential part of the criminal justice process, and this section of the Criminal Code of Canada provides guidance on how they should be conducted.

STRATEGY

Section 555.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada highlights the importance of strategic considerations in the criminal justice process. Specifically, it relates to the decision-making process surrounding whether to proceed with a preliminary inquiry or elect for a trial by judge and/or jury. One strategic consideration is the nature of the charges against the accused. A preliminary inquiry can be useful in cases where the prosecution's evidence is weak or there are issues with the credibility of witnesses, as it allows the defense to cross-examine witnesses and test the strength of the prosecution's case. On the other hand, if the charges are straightforward and the evidence is strong, it may be more strategic to elect for a trial by judge and/or jury to minimize the risk of an unfavorable outcome in a preliminary inquiry. Another strategic consideration is the potential advantages and disadvantages of a trial by judge versus a trial by jury. A trial by judge offers the advantages of legal expertise and reduced biases and emotions, while a trial by jury offers the potential for a more diverse range of perspectives and increased empathy for the accused. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the defense may choose to elect for one or the other, or to opt for a trial by both judge and jury. Further, the strategic decision to proceed with a preliminary inquiry or elect for a trial by judge and/or jury can depend on the venue where the case is being heard. Different provinces may have different rules and practices surrounding the conduct of preliminary inquiries, and may have different attitudes and predispositions towards certain types of cases or certain types of accused individuals. It may be advantageous to consider these factors in making the decision to proceed with a preliminary inquiry or not. In terms of strategies that could be employed, defense counsel may seek to negotiate with the prosecution to potentially avoid the need for a preliminary inquiry or to secure other advantages in the trial process. For example, defense counsel may negotiate for reduced charges or plea agreements in exchange for electing for a trial by judge and/or jury, or for other concessions that may increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome for the accused. Overall, when dealing with section 555.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada, strategic considerations are critical in the decision-making process surrounding whether to proceed with a preliminary inquiry or elect for a trial by judge and/or jury. These considerations can vary depending on the nature of the charges, the potential advantages and disadvantages of each option, and the specific circumstances of the case and venue where it is being heard. A thorough analysis of these factors can help the defense to make the most strategic and advantageous decision for their client.