INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
723(4) Where it is necessary in the interests of justice, the court may, after consulting the parties, compel the appearance of any person who is a compellable witness to assist the court in determining the appropriate sentence.
Section 723(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for the court to compel the appearance of any person who is a compellable witness in order to assist the court in determining the appropriate sentence for a convicted offender. This section recognizes that sentencing is a crucial part of the criminal justice process, and that it must be conducted in a fair and just manner. The section sets out two main conditions that must be met before the court can compel the appearance of a compellable witness. Firstly, it must be necessary in the interests of justice to do so. This means that the information provided by the witness must be relevant and material to the sentencing process. Secondly, the court must consult with the parties involved before making a decision to compel the witness. The purpose of compelling a witness to testify in the sentencing process is to provide the court with additional information that may be relevant in determining the appropriate sentence. This may include information about the offender's character, background, or circumstances that may have contributed to the commission of the offence, as well as any mitigating or aggravating factors in the case. Such information can help the court to craft a sentence that is fair, just, and proportionate to the offence committed. Overall, section 723(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada recognizes the importance of a fair and just sentencing process, and provides a mechanism for the court to compel the testimony of a witness in appropriate circumstances. This helps to ensure that sentencing decisions are made based on the best available information, and that the interests of justice are served.
Section 723(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada empowers courts to compel the appearance of a compellable witness before the court for the purpose of assisting in determining the appropriate sentence. The provision acknowledges that the determination of the sentence is a complex and difficult task that requires a comprehensive understanding of the matter at issue, and sometimes, the involvement of someone who can provide relevant information that may not be otherwise available. The use of compellable witnesses in sentencing proceedings is not a new phenomenon. However, Section 723(4) formalizes the process, providing a clear legal framework for the courts to follow. The provision outlines the specific situations under which a witness can be compelled to appear before the court, ensuring that the use of compellable witnesses is restricted to only where it is necessary in the interests of justice. One of the significant benefits of using compellable witnesses is that it provides the court with an opportunity to obtain more information about the defendant, the offense committed, and the impact of the offense on the victim. This information is critical in determining the most appropriate sentence for the defendant. In some cases, this testimony may help identify mitigating factors that could reduce the sentence, such as the defendant's background or experiences that may have contributed to their criminal behavior. Courts may compel the testimony of a wide range of witnesses, including academics, experts, or individuals with specialized knowledge of the case. This broad category of witnesses acknowledges that the type of evidence that can assist in determining a sentence can come from various sources. The court's power to compel individuals to testify is also subject to the principle of proportionality. This means that the court must balance the interests of justice against the burden placed on the witness. The use of compellable witnesses, however, does pose some potential challenges. One of the significant issues is that witnesses may be reluctant to testify, contributing to delays in sentencing proceedings, or requiring additional resources to locate and bring the witnesses to court. This may be the case where witnesses fear retaliation or where their testimony could harm their reputation. To address this, courts need to strike a balance between the need for additional information and witnesses' rights. In conclusion, Section 723(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a framework for using compellable witnesses in sentencing proceedings. The use of such witnesses can help provide the court with a more comprehensive understanding of the matter and contribute to determining the most appropriate sentence for the defendant. However, courts and legal practitioners need to be mindful of the potential challenges related to the use of compellable witnesses and work to strike a balance between the interests of justice and the rights of witnesses. Overall, the provision helps to ensure that the sentencing process is fair, transparent, and just.
Section 723(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada grants courts the power to compel the appearance of witnesses in the sentencing phase of criminal trials. This power can be utilized in situations where additional evidence or testimony is necessary to make informed decisions about the appropriate sentence for a given defendant. The use of this section requires careful consideration by the parties involved in the case, as it may have significant implications for how the proceeding plays out. One of the critical strategic considerations when dealing with section 723(4) is determining whether the potential benefits of compelling a witness outweigh any potential risks or downsides. For example, while the testimony of a compellable witness may be helpful in determining the appropriate sentence, it could also lead to delays, additional costs, and other unintended consequences. It may also create challenges for the witness, who may feel uncomfortable or intimidated by the prospect of testifying. If the decision is made to compel a witness, another essential strategic consideration is determining how best to do so. In many cases, witnesses may be willing to appear voluntarily, especially if they believe that their testimony will be helpful in reaching a just outcome. However, if a witness is reluctant to cooperate, the court must decide whether to use its powers to force them to appear. This could involve issuing subpoenas or other legal orders, which can be costly and time-consuming. Courts must also be mindful of the potential impact of compelling witnesses on the broader justice system. The use of these powers must be carefully balanced against other considerations, such as protecting the rights and freedoms of individual citizens and upholding the principles of fairness and due process. In some cases, compelling a witness may be seen as an infringement on these values, and parties involved in the case may be reluctant to utilize this power for fear of backlash or criticism. In terms of specific strategies, parties involved in a criminal case may choose to employ a range of tactics when dealing with section 723(4). One approach could be to try and avoid the need to compel witnesses altogether. This could involve conducting thorough investigations and gathering as much evidence as possible early on in the proceedings. By doing so, parties can minimize the potential need for additional testimony and reduce the likelihood of having to resort to more coercive measures. Another strategy could be to be more proactive in engaging with potential witnesses, especially if there are concerns about their willingness to testify. By reaching out early on and building relationships with witnesses, parties can help establish a foundation of trust and make it more likely that witnesses will be willing to cooperate if called upon to do so. Ultimately, the strategic considerations and tactics involved in dealing with section 723(4) will depend on the specific circumstances of each case. Parties must balance the need to gather as much information as possible with the potential risks and downsides of compelling witnesses. By doing so, they can ensure that the proceedings are fair, transparent, and responsive to the needs of all parties involved.