section 721(5)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The clerk of the court must provide a copy of the report to the offender, their counsel, and the prosecutor.

SECTION WORDING

721(5) The clerk of the court shall provide a copy of the report, as soon as practicable after filing, to the offender or counsel for the offender, as directed by the court, and to the prosecutor.

EXPLANATION

Section 721(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada relates to the sharing of reports in relation to offenders. The section specifies that the clerk of the court should provide a copy of any report as soon as possible once it has been filed. The copies should be provided to the offender or their legal counsel, as directed by the court, as well as to the prosecutor. The purpose of this directive is to ensure transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system. It enables all relevant parties to have access to the same information, which in turn can help to facilitate more effective communication among these stakeholders. Additionally, this requirement promotes fairness by ensuring that both the prosecution and the defence are equally informed about relevant assessments and information. Overall, the provisions of Section 721(5) aim to create a more transparent, fair, and efficient process for managing reports and related information in the context of criminal justice proceedings in Canada.

COMMENTARY

Section 721(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada underscores the importance of transparency in the criminal justice system by mandating that a copy of probation reports be shared with the offender or their counsel and the prosecutor. A probation report is an important document that provides background information on an offender, including their criminal history, socio-economic status, and other relevant details that may inform the judge's sentencing decision. This provision serves several purposes. First, it ensures that the offender has access to information about themselves that may have been collected during the course of the trial. This may help the offender understand why the sentence was handed down and what steps they can take to improve their situation. Second, it recognizes the right of the offender to have their counsel represent them, and to receive all relevant documents related to their case. This allows the counsel to provide informed advice to their client and helps to ensure that the offender's rights are protected. Finally, it ensures that the prosecutor has access to all relevant information about the offender, which can be useful in determining whether or not to pursue further charges against the offender. Section 721(5) also highlights the importance of timeliness in providing the reports. It emphasizes that copies of the report should be provided as soon as practicable after filing, which is important because the offender or their counsel may need the information to prepare for an appeal or other legal proceedings. Delay in providing the report may also be viewed as a violation of the offender's rights, especially if the delay results in harm to the offender's interests. Overall, Section 721(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that promotes transparency, fairness, and access to justice in the criminal justice system. By ensuring that probation reports are shared with all relevant parties in a timely manner, it helps to ensure that the sentencing process is fair and that the rights of the offender are protected. It is an example of how legislation can help to promote greater transparency and fairness in the criminal justice system.

STRATEGY

Section 721(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the responsibility of the court clerk to provide a copy of the pre-sentence report to the offender or their counsel, as well as to the prosecutor. This section of the Criminal Code is significant because pre-sentence reports can greatly impact the sentence handed down by a judge, and therefore, it is imperative that all parties have access to this information. In this essay, we will explore some strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, as well as some strategies that could be employed. One of the strategic considerations when dealing with Section 721(5) is the timing of the provision of the pre-sentence report. The section states that the court clerk shall provide a copy of the report "as soon as practicable after filing." This means that there can be a delay between the filing of the report and the provision of the report to the parties involved. For example, if the pre-sentence report takes several weeks to complete, the provision of the report may not occur until after the sentencing hearing has taken place. Therefore, it is important for defence counsel to be proactive in requesting a copy of the report as soon as it is available in order to review it thoroughly and prepare arguments to present at the sentencing hearing. Another strategic consideration is the content of the pre-sentence report itself. Pre-sentence reports are prepared by probation officers and typically include information about the offender's background, past criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating factors that should be taken into consideration at sentencing. This information can be used by both the prosecution and defence to argue for a particular sentence. Defence counsel may use the information in the report to advocate for a more lenient sentence, while the prosecution may use it to argue for a harsher sentence. Therefore, it is important for the parties to carefully review the report and consider how it can be used to their advantage. Some strategies that could be employed when dealing with Section 721(5) include requesting a copy of the report as soon as it is available, carefully reviewing the content of the report, and using the information in the report to argue for a particular sentence. Defence counsel may also consider hiring an independent expert to review the report and provide an opinion on its findings. This expert can then be called as a witness at the sentencing hearing to provide additional evidence in support of the defence's arguments. In addition, defence counsel may consider making submissions to the court regarding the contents of the pre-sentence report. For example, if the report contains mitigating factors that have not been previously considered, counsel can draw these factors to the attention of the court and argue that they should be taken into account when determining the appropriate sentence. Overall, Section 721(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that outlines the responsibility of the court clerk to provide a copy of the pre-sentence report to the parties involved. When dealing with this section, it is important for defence counsel to be proactive in requesting a copy of the report, carefully reviewing its contents, and using the information contained therein to argue for a particular sentence. By employing these strategies, defence counsel can ensure that their client's interests are adequately represented at the sentencing hearing.