section 569(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The Attorney General may require an accused to be tried by a judge and jury unless the alleged offence carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or less.

SECTION WORDING

569(1) Even if an accused elects under section 536.1 or re-elects under section 561.1 or subsection 565(2) to be tried by a judge without a jury, the Attorney General may require the accused to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury unless the alleged offence is one that is punishable with imprisonment for five years or less. If the Attorney General so requires, a judge has no jurisdiction to try the accused under this Part and a preliminary inquiry must be held if requested under subsection 536.1(3), unless one has already been held or the re-election was made under subsection 565(2).

EXPLANATION

Section 569(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the circumstances in which an accused person who has elected to be tried by a judge without a jury may still be required to face trial by a jury. In general, an accused person has the right to choose between trial by judge alone or trial by judge and jury, but this section allows the Attorney General to override that choice in certain cases. Specifically, if the alleged offence is one that carries a maximum penalty of more than five years' imprisonment, the Attorney General may require that the accused face trial by a court composed of a judge and jury. This means that if the prosecutor chooses to seek a jury trial, the accused person cannot simply opt out by choosing trial by judge alone. It is important to note that the prosecutor does not have unlimited discretion to require a jury trial. They can only do so if the offence in question carries a maximum penalty of more than five years' imprisonment. In cases where the maximum penalty is five years or less, the accused person is entitled to choose trial by judge alone, and the prosecutor cannot force a jury trial. If a jury trial is required, the accused person will face a panel of 12 jurors who will hear the evidence and make a determination of guilt or innocence. This represents a significant departure from trial by judge alone, where the judge makes all determinations of fact and law. The reason for this difference is that jury trials are seen as offering greater protection for the accused person, as they place the decision-making power in the hands of a group of laypeople who are not necessarily legal experts, but who may bring different perspectives and life experiences to the decision-making process. Ultimately, section 569(1) represents a balance between the right of the accused person to choose their mode of trial and the public interest in ensuring that serious offences are tried by a jury.

COMMENTARY

Section 569(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that deals with an accused person's right to elect to be tried by a judge alone or a judge and jury. The provision is aimed at balancing the accused person's right to a fair trial with the public's interest in having serious crimes tried by a jury of peers. The provision essentially gives the Attorney General the power to require an accused person to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury, even if the accused person has elected to be tried by a judge alone. However, this power is limited to cases where the alleged offence is punishable with imprisonment for more than five years. This means that for minor offences, an accused person can choose to be tried by a judge without a jury, and the Attorney General cannot compel them to do otherwise. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that serious crimes are tried by a jury, which is seen as a safeguard against wrongful convictions. Juries are made up of ordinary citizens who are chosen at random, and they bring a fresh perspective to the trial process. They are tasked with evaluating the evidence and deciding whether the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Juries are seen as impartial and fair, and their decisions are usually respected by both the accused person and the public at large. However, there are also arguments against jury trials. Some critics argue that juries are not always competent to understand complex legal issues, and that they may be swayed by emotional appeals or irrelevant information. There is also a concern that a jury trial can be influenced by factors such as media coverage, public opinion, and the jury selection process itself. Ultimately, the decision to have a judge-alone trial or a trial by judge and jury should be left to the accused person, as they are the ones who are facing the charges and the consequences of a guilty verdict. However, the power of the Attorney General to require a trial by jury in certain cases is a necessary safeguard to ensure that serious crimes are tried by a fair and impartial tribunal. In conclusion, section 569(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that balances the rights of the accused with the public's interest in having serious crimes tried by a jury. It ensures that accused persons are not compelled to have a jury trial for minor offences, while also giving the Attorney General the power to require a trial by jury for more serious crimes. This provision is an essential safeguard against wrongful convictions and helps to maintain public confidence in the justice system.

STRATEGY

Section 569(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada presents a strategic opportunity for both the prosecution and the defence in criminal cases. This section allows the Attorney General to require an accused to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury, regardless of the accused's initial election to be tried by a judge alone. However, this provision applies only for offences that carry a punishment of more than five years' imprisonment. In this article, we will discuss some strategic considerations when dealing with this section and strategies that can be employed by both sides. Strategic considerations for the prosecution For the prosecution, the decision to require a trial by judge and jury under section 569(1) must be based on several strategic considerations. The first consideration is the strength of the case. If the prosecution has a strong case with convincing evidence, it may elect to have a trial by judge alone to reduce the risk of an acquittal by a jury. Conversely, if the evidence is weak, the prosecutor may opt to have a trial by judge and jury to increase the likelihood of a conviction. Another important consideration is the nature of the offence. Cases involving complex legal or scientific issues may be better suited for a judge alone, while cases that involve highly emotional issues may benefit from a jury. For example, a murder case involving allegations of domestic violence may be perceived more favourably by a jury, which may be comprised of members of the community. Finally, the prosecutor must consider the potential impact on the sentencing. If the accused is convicted by a jury, the sentence may be higher due to the perception that the verdict reflects the community's view of the crime. Conversely, if the accused is acquitted by a jury, it may have a negative impact on the prosecutor's credibility and reputation. Strategic considerations for the defence For the defence, section 569(1) provides an opportunity to challenge the prosecution's case and potentially obtain a more favourable outcome for the accused. The decision to elect a trial by judge alone or to accept a trial by judge and jury must be based on several strategic considerations. The first consideration is the strength of the defence case. If the defence has a strong case, it may be more advantageous to have a trial by a judge alone, who may be more objective and better able to appreciate the nuances of the evidence. Conversely, if the defence's case is weak, a jury trial may be more desirable as a jury may be more inclined to favour the defence. Another important consideration is the accused's perception within the community. If the accused is perceived unfavourably, electing a trial by judge alone may minimize the impact of community bias. Conversely, if the accused enjoys a favourable reputation in the community, a jury trial may be the better option. Finally, the defence must consider the impact on sentencing. If the accused is convicted by a jury, the sentence may be higher due to the community's perceived outrage against the crime. Conversely, if the accused is acquitted by a jury, it may have a more positive impact on the accused's reputation and future prospects. Strategies that can be employed The following are some strategies that can be employed by both sides to maximize the benefits of section 569(1): 1. Negotiation: Both the prosecution and the defence can negotiate a mutually agreeable outcome based on the strategic considerations presented above. For example, the prosecution may agree to a trial by judge alone if the defence agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offence. 2. Challenge: The defence can challenge the prosecution's decision to require a jury trial using legal arguments showing that the alleged offence cannot be punished by more than five years in prison. 3. Jury selection: The defence and prosecution can strategically select jurors based on their backgrounds, beliefs, and biases to obtain a more favourable outcome. 4. Evidence presentation: Both sides can present evidence in a way that is tailored to the judge or jury, depending on the nature of the case and the strategic considerations. Conclusion In conclusion, section 569(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides an opportunity for both the prosecution and defence to strategically elect the method in which a trial is conducted. The strategic considerations presented above can help both sides make an informed decision that maximizes their interests. Employing the strategies suggested above can help both sides achieve the desired outcome.