section 555(2)


If an accused is charged with certain offences involving testamentary instruments or assets exceeding $5000, the judge must give an election to the accused before making an adjudication.


555(2) Where an accused is before a provincial court judge charged with an offence mentioned in paragraph 553(a) or subparagraph 553(b)(i), and, at any time before the provincial court judge makes an adjudication, the evidence establishes that the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or that its value exceeds five thousand dollars, the provincial court judge shall put the accused to his or her election in accordance with subsection 536(2).


Section 555(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada stipulates the procedure that provincial court judges must follow when an accused person is charged with certain offences. Specifically, if the evidence presented in court shows that the subject of the offence is a testamentary instrument or that its value exceeds $5,000, then the judge must give the accused person the option to proceed with either a preliminary inquiry or a direct indictment. Paragraph 553(a) of the Criminal Code lists offences that can be tried either summarily or by indictment, while subparagraph 553(b)(i) refers specifically to theft over $5,000. These offences can potentially carry serious consequences for the accused person, and the decision whether to proceed with a preliminary inquiry or a direct indictment can have significant implications for the outcome of the trial. A preliminary inquiry involves a hearing in which a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial. If the judge decides that there is sufficient evidence, then the case proceeds to trial. A direct indictment, on the other hand, skips the preliminary inquiry stage and immediately sends the case to trial. The purpose of Section 555(2) is to ensure that accused persons are aware of their options and can make an informed decision about how to proceed with their case. By giving the accused person the choice between a preliminary inquiry and a direct indictment, the judge is allowing them to have more control over their own case and potentially achieve a more favorable outcome.


Section 555(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that applies to criminal offenses involving testamentary instruments or valuable property. This section outlines the procedure that a provincial court judge must follow in cases involving such offenses. Specifically, if a defendant is charged with an offense related to a testamentary instrument or property exceeding $5,000, the judge must allow the accused to choose between trial with a judge alone or with a jury. This provision reflects the importance of testamentary instruments and valuable property in Canadian law. People expect their testamentary instruments to be respected, and the loss or theft of valuable property can have significant financial and emotional consequences. The Criminal Code of Canada recognizes these concerns by creating offenses that punish those who violate the rights of testators or steal valuable property. The requirement that the judge puts the accused to their election reflects the right to a fair trial, which is enshrined in both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Criminal Code of Canada. The decision of a defendant to choose between a judge-alone or jury trial is an important one, as it affects the way in which evidence is presented and the likelihood of a conviction. By giving the accused the choice, Section 555(2) ensures that the defendant has control over their trial and that it is conducted in accordance with their legal rights. Moreover, Section 555(2) demonstrates the careful consideration given to individual rights in Canada's legal system. This provision recognizes the importance of procedural fairness and works to ensure that those accused of a crime are given the opportunity to make an informed choice regarding their trial. It also reflects the importance of transparency in the criminal justice system and allows defendants, victims, and the general public to have confidence in the fairness of the legal process. Nevertheless, some might criticize Section 555(2) for creating ambiguity in the law. The provision only applies to certain types of offenses and establishes a threshold of $5,000, which could lead to inconsistent application. Critics might argue that this provision could create confusion in cases where the value of the property is unclear or where there is uncertainty regarding the role of a testamentary instrument. However, these issues can usually be resolved through careful interpretation of the law and the application of legal principles. Overall, Section 555(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that performs a vital role in safeguarding the rights of Canadian citizens and ensuring that the criminal justice system is fair and transparent. By recognizing the importance of testamentary instruments and valuable property, this provision helps to protect the financial and emotional well-being of Canadians, while also promoting the rule of law and justice.


Section 555(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada serves as a critical provision for individuals charged with offences relating to testamentary instruments or their value exceeding five thousand dollars. The section requires the provincial court judge to put the accused to their election in accordance with subsection 536(2) if the evidence establishes that the subject-matter of the offence falls under these categories. One of the primary strategic considerations when dealing with section 555(2) is understanding the implications of the election. Subsection 536(2) allows the accused to choose between a trial by judge alone or a trial by judge and jury. The decision to go with one option over the other can significantly impact the outcome of the case and the defendant's chances of acquittal. As such, individuals charged with such offences must weigh the benefits and risks associated with the selection carefully. Another strategy that could be employed involves exploring the evidence to see if there are any weaknesses or gaps that could undermine the prosecution's case. In cases where the evidence is not conclusive or is circumstantial, the accused may choose to opt for a trial by jury, hoping that the jurors will have a more lenient view and be less likely to convict. Similarly, if the evidence against the accused is strong, the defence may choose a judge-alone trial to avoid the potential for a harsher sentence from a jury. Another strategic consideration when dealing with section 555(2) is the potential for plea bargaining. In some cases, it may be more advantageous for the accused to enter a guilty plea to a lesser offence with a lower maximum penalty. If the prosecution agrees to a plea bargain, the accused could avoid the risk of conviction for a more serious offence and potentially receive a more lenient sentence. Overall, navigating section 555(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires careful planning and strategic decision-making. Understanding the potential implications of the election, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, and exploring plea bargaining options can all contribute to achieving a favourable outcome for the accused. Ultimately, the success of these strategies will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the capabilities of the defence team.