section 589

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Indictments cannot join counts of murder with other indictable offences unless they arise from the same transaction or the accused consents to the joinder.

SECTION WORDING

589 No count that charges an indictable offence other than murder shall be joined in an indictment to a count that charges murder unless (a) the count that charges the offence other than murder arises out of the same transaction as a count that charges murder; or (b) the accused signifies consent to the joinder of the counts.

EXPLANATION

Section 589 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the limitations on the joinder of indictable offences in a single indictment. It prohibits the joining of a count that charges murder with a count that charges an indictable offence other than murder, unless certain conditions are met. The first condition under paragraph (a) allows for the joinder of such counts if the offence that is not murder arises from the same transaction as the count that charges murder. This means that if the two offences are closely connected and can be linked to the same set of facts, they can be joined in the same indictment. For example, if a person is charged with both murder and assault arising from the same incident, these charges could be joined in the same indictment. The second condition under paragraph (b) allows for the accused to consent to the joinder of the counts. This means that if the accused agrees to have the charges joined, they can be included in the same indictment. However, the accused must provide explicit and informed consent to this joinder, and must understand the nature and consequences of having both charges included in the same indictment. By including this section in the Criminal Code, the Canadian legal system aims to ensure that indictments are focused and well-defined, and that the accused is not unfairly prejudiced by the inclusion of unrelated offences in the same indictment. This helps to ensure a fair and just trial process for all individuals accused of criminal offences in Canada.

COMMENTARY

Section 589 of the Criminal Code of Canada dictates the permissible circumstances under which counts that charge murder and those that charge any other indictable offence may be joined in a single indictment. According to this provision, these counts may only be joined if they arise from the same transaction, or if the accused gives their consent to the joinder. This restriction is in place to ensure that the accused is provided with a fair trial that is consistent with their fundamental rights. Criminal trials in Canada are governed by the principle of fundamental justice, which affirms that the accused is entitled to a fair trial and that the proceedings must be conducted fairly, impartially, and with due regard for the protection of the accused's rights. The joinder of counts that charge an indictable offence other than murder with a count that charges murder could unfairly prejudice the accused and infringe on this principle. If counts that charge murder and those that charge any other indictable offence were joined together without this restriction, the jury may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of charges, and the prosecution could use this to cast a negative light on the accused. The accused could also be prejudiced in various ways, including through confusion and the possibility of being found guilty of an offence they did not commit. Section 589 sets out the exceptions that allow the joinder of counts that charge murder and those that charge other indictable offences. The first exception is that the counts must arise from the same transaction. This means that the charges must be causally linked and must stem from the same set of circumstances and events. For example, if an individual is charged with murder and with robbery, the two counts may be joined if the accused committed the robbery as part of the same transaction as the murder. This exception is intended to ensure that charges that are connected in a meaningful way are tried together, thus avoiding any unfairness or confusion that may arise from conducting separate trials. The second exception allows for the joinder of counts if the accused consents to the joinder. This means that the accused has the option to waive their right to a separate trial on multiple counts and elect to have all charges tried together. However, the consent must be voluntary and must be given after the accused has been informed of their rights and the potential consequences of a joint trial. Consent can also be given at any time during the course of the proceedings. In conclusion, section 589 of the Criminal Code of Canada is crucial in preserving the rights of the accused and ensuring a fair trial. Its application ensures that the accused is not unfairly prejudiced by the number or nature of the charges against them and that they are tried in a fair and impartial manner.

STRATEGY

When dealing with section 589 of the Criminal Code of Canada, there are several strategic considerations that must be taken into account. This section stipulates that a count that charges an indictable offence other than murder cannot be joined in an indictment to a count that charges murder unless the offender consents or the charges arise out of the same transaction. This means that prosecutors must carefully consider the charges they bring against an accused individual to avoid having charges thrown out due to non-compliance with section 589. One strategy that can be employed is carefully planning the charges that will be brought against the accused. Prosecutors must ensure that each charge has merit and is supported by evidence, while also ensuring that the charges are distinct from each other and do not violate section 589. This can be challenging, but careful planning and collaboration with other law enforcement agencies can help to ensure that the charges are properly aligned with section 589. Another strategy that can be employed is negotiating a plea agreement with the accused. This can be a useful way to avoid violating section 589, as well as to ensure that the accused receives a fair and just punishment for their actions. Plea bargaining can be a complex process, but it can also be an effective way to resolve charges without the need for a lengthy and costly trial. Finally, prosecutors can also consider dividing the charges into separate indictments. This can be a useful strategy for cases where the charges are not directly related and do not arise out of the same transaction. While this approach can be more time-consuming, it can also ensure compliance with section 589 and help to ensure that each charge is properly supported by evidence. Overall, section 589 of the Criminal Code of Canada presents some unique challenges for prosecutors. However, with careful planning and strategic considerations, it is possible to bring charges against an accused individual that are in compliance with the law. By effectively navigating section 589, prosecutors can help to ensure that justice is served and that the legal system operates effectively and efficiently.