INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
591(4) An order under subsection (3) may be made before or during the trial but, if the order is made during the trial, the jury shall be discharged from giving a verdict on the counts (a) on which the trial does not proceed; or (b) in respect of the accused or defendant who has been granted a separate trial.
Section 591(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the circumstances under which an order may be made to separate the trial of co-accused individuals. This section acknowledges that due to the nature of some criminal cases, it may be necessary to try each accused separately. If an order is made to separate the trial of co-accused, it can be made either before or during the trial. If the order is made during the trial, the jury must be discharged from giving a verdict on counts that are not proceeding or in respect of the accused or defendant who has been granted a separate trial. In other words, the trial will only continue for the accused who has not been granted a separate trial. This section is important because it ensures that each accused individual is given a fair trial, particularly in situations where the evidence against one accused individual may unfairly taint the other accused individuals. Separating the trials can also prevent misunderstandings or confusion that may arise during a trial with multiple co-accused, as the evidence presented may not apply equally to each accused. Overall, section 591(4) aims to uphold the principles of justice and fairness in criminal trials by ensuring that each accused individual is given a fair trial without undue influence from the evidence presented against their co-accused.
Section 591(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the circumstances under which an order may be made to separate counts of an indictment. This provision allows for the court to separate various counts for trial, and provide a separate trial for the accused or defendant if necessary. It is a crucial statute that protects the rights of the defendant in a criminal trial and ensures that the court proceedings are fair and just. The purpose of section 591(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is to provide flexibility in how trials are conducted, particularly in complex cases with multiple counts and defendants. By separating the counts, the court can create a more streamlined trial that can be more easily managed, and that is less likely to result in mistrials or retrials. This provision allows the court to focus on the specific charges being brought against the accused or defendant, and ensures that they are judged on the merits of those charges alone. The ordering of separate counts is most commonly used when there are multiple defendants who are being tried together. In such instances, the court may order separate trials for each accused if it is deemed that a joint trial would prejudice their cases. Prejudice may arise when the evidence or allegations being made against one accused have a spillover effect on the other accused. This spillover effect can influence the jury or taint the fairness of the proceedings. To avoid such prejudice, the court may order separate trials. Alternatively, separate counts may be ordered when some counts have been withdrawn or when some counts contain evidence that is prejudicial against one of the accused. In this case, the jury will be discharged from giving a verdict on the counts on which the trial does not proceed, or in respect of the accused or defendant who has been granted a separate trial. This ensures that the jury focuses solely on the counts and evidence that remain at issue. The provision in section 591(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada ensures that the right to a fair trial is protected, which is a fundamental principle of justice in Canada. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is a cornerstone of Canada's system of justice. Section 591(4) protects this right by allowing the court to separate counts and order separate trials if needed to ensure a fair trial for all accused. In conclusion, section 591(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides the Canadian court system with a necessary tool for managing complex criminal cases. It demonstrates Canada's commitment to ensuring that accused persons receive a fair trial. By allowing the court to order separate trials, the provision ensures that the proceedings are just, balanced, and fair for all parties involved. This flexibility improves the quality of trials, makes them more efficient, and helps to ensure that justice is served.
Section 591(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada gives the court the power to make an order for separate trials when two or more accused are charged with the same offence. This allows the court to ensure that the proper administration of justice is maintained and that each accused is given a fair trial. However, this section of the Criminal Code also gives rise to a number of strategic considerations for defence counsel. One potential strategy is to seek a separate trial for an accused who is likely to be prejudiced by the evidence against the other accused. For example, if there is evidence that implicates one accused but not the other, it may be advantageous to seek a separate trial to prevent that evidence from being introduced against the other accused. Similarly, if one accused has made statements or confession that implicate the other accused, defence counsel may seek a separate trial to prevent that evidence from being introduced against their client. Another strategy that may be employed is to seek a separate trial for an accused who has a different defence than the other accused. This may occur where one accused is claiming self-defence or duress, and the other accused is not. In such cases, a separate trial may be advantageous as it allows each accused to present their defence without the risk of being prejudiced by the other accused's defence. A third strategy that may be employed is to seek a separate trial for an accused who has a significantly weaker case than the other accused. By seeking a separate trial, the accused may be able to distance themselves from the evidence against the other accused, and may be more likely to be acquitted. In addition, seeking a separate trial may also allow defence counsel to present a different narrative that is more favourable to their client. In addition to these strategic considerations, there are also practical considerations that may influence whether or not a separate trial is sought. For example, a separate trial may be more expensive and time-consuming, which may be a deterrent for some accused. Similarly, a separate trial may be more difficult to coordinate from a logistical perspective, as it may require additional court appearances and scheduling conflicts. In conclusion, Section 591(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada gives rise to a number of strategic considerations for defence counsel. Whether to seek a separate trial will depend on a number of factors, including the strength of the evidence against each accused, the nature of the defences being advanced, and practical considerations such as cost and logistics. Ultimately, the decision to seek a separate trial should be based on a careful analysis of the facts and evidence in each case.