TABLE OF CONTENTS. Homicide Case Flowchart...3. Overview of Homicide Trial...4. Location of Local Court Houses...5. General Courtroom Diagram...

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1 A Guide to the Homicide Criminal Justice Process

2 P a g e 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Homicide Case Flowchart...3 Overview of Homicide Trial...4 Location of Local Court Houses...5 General Courtroom Diagram...6 Glossary of Terms...7

3 P a g e 3 HOMICIDE CASE FLOWCHART Offence Police Called, Investigation Begins Connected with Victim Services No Charge Charge Bail Hearing Released on Bail Held in Custody Crown Review Charges Withdrawn Proceed With Prosecution Released at End of Sentence Accused Pleads Guilty Sentencing Parole Not Enough Evidence Accused Pleads Not- Guilty Preliminary Inquiry Enough Evidence to Proceed Case Dismissed Trial Finding of Guilt Acquittal Sentencing Jail Appeal Released at End of Sentence Parole

4 P a g e 4 OVERVIEW OF HOMICIDE TRIAL BAIL HEARING Once charged, the accused will have a bail hearing within 24 hours of arrest to determine if they should be kept in custody or released while they wait for their trial. The victim/family has the right to attend this hearing if they wish. PRELIMINARY INQUIRY Following the bail hearing, a preliminary inquiry will be held, which could be months or even years later. During this inquiry, witnesses will be called and evidence will be presented (very similar to a trial). The purpose of this inquiry is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to take the case to trial. If the judge determines there is enough evidence, the case will go to trial. PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE The Crown presents the evidence and arguments to support the guilt of the accused (including questioning witnesses). Once the Crown is finished questioning a witness (examination in chief), the Defense can ask this witness questions (cross-examination). Once the Crown has presented all evidence and called all witnesses, the Defense can present evidence and arguments to support the innocence of the accused. Once the Defense is finished questioning a witness (examination in chief), the Crown can ask this witness questions (cross-examination). After all evidence has been presented, the attorneys present their closing arguments. JURY DELIBERATION After hearing all evidence and closing arguments, the 12 jurors will deliberate and determine if the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or not-guilty (acquittal). If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, the judge declares a mistrial. If the jury has reached a unanimous decision, the verdict will be delivered to the court. SENTENCING If the accused is found not-guilty, they are free to go. If the accused is found guilty, the victim(s) will have the opportunity to present their Victim Impact Statements, and the judge will impose an appropriate sentence. When deciding on an appropriate sentence, the judge will consider aggravating and mitigating factors. In Canada, those convicted of first or second degree murder must be sentenced to life imprisonment and are generally not eligible for parole until they have served at least 25 or 10 years of their sentence respectively.

5 P a g e 5 LOCATION OF LOCAL COURT HOUSES A) Ontario Court of Justice: Murray St 70 Simcoe Street, Peterborough ON B B) Superior Court of Justice: Brock St 470 Water Street, Peterborough ON Hunter St W Simcoe St A Bail hearings can be held in either court, however they most frequently are held in the Superior Court of Justice for homicides. Preliminary inquiries are held in the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ). The trial is held in the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ). Sentencing will usually be held in the Superior Court of Justice, however this will not be determined until after the guilty verdict is entered. Each case is different and therefore the court in which sentencing occurs may vary depending on the case.

6 P a g e 6 GENERAL COURT ROOM DIAGRAM Witness Stand Judge Court Officer Jury Bench Court Clerk Court Reporter Accused Bench Defense Crown Public Seating: Defense Side Public Seating: Crown Side **This is the typical outline of the courtroom, however again each case is different and therefore the prosecution, defence, or jury could all be moved to the opposite side in certain situations. Victim Services will ensure that the proper layout is explained on the first day of trial.

7 P a g e 7 GLOSSARY OF TERMS For terms not listed in this glossary, visit "Irwin Law's Canadian Online Legal Dictionary" at: A ACCUSED: a person charged with a criminal offence ACQUITTAL: a finding of "not guilty" ACTUS REUS: the offending act ADJOURNMENT: a temporary delay in court proceedings AGGRAVATING FACTOR: any circumstance that may result in an increased sentence such as if the accused had a weapon in their possession during the offence ALLEGE: to suggest something is true without necessarily having proof ARRAIGNMENT: the formal process where the charges against the accused are read and the accused is asked to plead guilty or not guilty APPEAL: asking a higher court to change the decision made by a lower court; can be brought by the defense attorney or crown attorney ARREST: when the police have a suspect in their custody and are charging them with a criminal offence ATTORNEY GENERAL: a member of government who is responsible for prosecuting those who have broken criminal law AUTOPSY: a medical examination of the deceased in order to determine the cause/time of death or identity of the individual B BAIL: when the accused is released from jail before their trial BAIL HEARING: a meeting held by a judge in order to decide if the accused should be released from jail before their trial C CHARGE: the formal accusation against a person which states they have committed an offence CLOSING ARGUMENTS: the "conclusion" the attorneys present for their arguments COMMUNITY- BASED VICTIM SERVICES: non-profit or government funded organizations that provide assistance to victims of crime CONDITIONS OF RELEASE: conditions imposed on an offender when they are released into the community on parole/probation, such as checking in with their parole officer on a weekly basis CONVICTION: when the accused is found guilty of an offence and receives a sentence CORONER: the medical doctor that determines the identity of the deceased and the means of death

8 P a g e 8 CORROBORATING EVIDENCE: evidence that confirms previously found evidence COURT-BASED VICTIM SERVICES: provide support for people who have become involved in the criminal justice process as either victims or witnesses CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENS-ATION BOARD (CICB): an Ontario government agency that provides financial compensation for victims of violent crime CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS: the legal process that occurs after a crime has been committed CROSS EXAMINATION: when a witness is asked questions in court by the lawyer on the other side of the case CROWN ATTORNEY: the lawyer who represents society and the victim(s); employed by the government to prosecute the accused D DEFENSE ATTORNEY: the lawyer who represents the accused DEFENDANT: another term for the accused DISPOSITION: the ultimate outcome of a case (guilty or not guilty) E EXAMINATION IN CHIEF: when a witness is asked questions in court by the lawyer on the same side F FIRST DEGREE MURDER: the planned and intentional killing of a human being by another who has criminal intent; or if the murder occurred while the accused was committing certain other offences FITNESS TO STAND TRIAL: the ability or lack thereof of the accused to comprehend right from wrong or to understand the consequences of their actions due to mental illness H HEARING: a proceeding where the witnesses speak and evidence is presented HOMICIDE: the intentional killing of one human being by another; may be lawful or unlawful I INFORMATION: a written accusation against the accused J JURY: individuals from the community to assess the facts of the case and determine if the accused is guilty or not guilty M MANSLAUGHTER: the killing of one human being by another under sudden provocation (without intent) MEDICAL EXAMINER: the doctor that performs the autopsy MENS REA: criminal intent MISTRIAL: a trial that has been prematurely terminated; a new trial is usually ordered after a mistrial

9 P a g e 9 MITIGATING FACTOR: any factor that may result in a reduced sentence such as if the accused was under significant duress MOTIVE: a reason for doing something MURDER: the unlawful and intentional killing of one human being by another N NOTIFICATION OF DEATH: when a member of the police force comes to inform the family of the death of their loved one P PAROLE: releasing an offender to serve the remaining portion of his sentence in the community under supervision PLEA RESOLUTION: an agreement between the Crown and Defense for the accused to plead guilty in order to receive a reduced sentence POLICE-BASED VICTIM SERVICES: organizations situated within a police department that provide assistance to victims of crime POST-MORTEM EXAMINATION: another term for autopsy PRELIMINARY INQUIRY: a proceeding held by a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to bring the accused to trial PRE-SENTENCE REPORT: report about the offender including psychological, intellectual and risk assessments PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: the concept that everyone accused of a crime is assumed to be innocent until their guilt has been proven in court PRIMARY VICTIM: a victim of a crime that has been committed directly against them (e.g. the deceased in a murder investigation) PROBATION: a sentence that allows an offender to be supervised in the community rather than be in jail PROOF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT: the evidence against the accused must be so convincing that there is no doubt they are guilty of the alleged offence PROSECUTE: to charge someone for committing a criminal offence and preparing to conduct legal proceedings against the accused PUBLICATION BAN: a judge's order outlining what can and cannot be reported by the media S SECONDARY VICTIM: a victim of a crime that was not committed directly against them (e.g. a family member of a murdered individual) SECOND DEGREE MURDER: the unplanned intentional killing of a human being knowing the act would kill them (e.g. heat of the moment) SELF-DEFENCE: a common defense in which the accused feels they committed the offence as a means of protecting themselves SENTENCE: a formal judgement imposing a punishment upon the accused once they are found guilty STATUTORY RELEASE: when an offender is released after serving 2/3 of their sentence

10 P a g e 10 SUBPOENA: a court order requiring a witness to give testimony in court T TESTIMONY: verbal evidence given by a witness or an expert in court TRIAL: an examination of evidence by a judge in order to determine if the accused is guilty or not W WARRANT: a court order allowing the police to arrest someone (arrest warrant) or to search a place (search warrant) WITNESS: someone who has seen the offence being committed or who has information regarding the offense or the accused V VERDICT: a decision of guilty or not guilty reached by a jury VICTIM CRISIS ASSISTANCE AND REFERRAL SERVICES (VCARS): a community-based victim services program that provides assistance to victims/families of crime VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT: a statement written by the victim or their family that describes how the crime has affected them; the statement is read in court after conviction but before sentencing VICTIM QUICK RESPONSE PROGRAM (VQRP): a program funded by the government that provides victims and families with emergency funds in the immediate aftermath of a violent crime VICTIM SERVICES: an organization that provides victims of crime with support, referrals and information VICTIM/WITNESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (V/WAP): a governmentfunded service that provides information, assistance and support for victims and witnesses of crime; often provides help with court related aspects

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