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Canadian Criminal Justice System

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Introduction

The Canadian Criminal Justice System is, for the most part, reflective of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and various Supreme Court of Canada case-law. Everyone who finds themselves on the opposing end of the Criminal Justice System is entitled to certain protections every step of the way, beginning even before the arrest; laws protect us from unreasonable investigative techniques, guarantee certain rights at point of arrest, and provide us with the right to counsel. The bail court departs from the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard in that the crown only needs to prove on a balance of probabilities (Kellough, 1996, p. 175) in order to take away a person’s freedom. It is for this reason I decided to limit the scope of my observations to the bail court. What I found is a systemic evidence of a two-tier justice system. In this essay, I will outline the roles of the 'regular players' of the bail court and demonstrate how the current bail process essentially transforms the Canadian Criminal Justice System into a two-tier system where the affluent and powerful are able to receive preferential treatment over the poor.

Observations

I attended the Bail court on Monday, February 22 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Scarborough. After some searching, I found the court assignment sheet posted outside a clerk's office. It had listed each courtroom number and what they were assigned to hold. Courtroom 412 was bail, courtroom 406 was guilty pleas, and 407 was first appearance. When I approached courtroom 412, I saw the crown counsel have a brief conversation with a colleague. They were critical of the Judge being late – the court was scheduled to reconvene at 2pm. She sarcastically stated that 'he must need a longer lunch b...

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...Introduction to Crime and Social Control in Canada (pp. 93-110). Toronto: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston of Canada.

Burstein, P. (2008). The Role of a Defence Counsel. In J. V. Roberts, & M. G. Grossman (Eds.), Criminal Justice in Canada: a Reader (3rd Edition ed., pp. 48-58). Toronto: Thomson Nelson.

Cole, D. P. (2008). A Day in the Life of a Judge. In Criminal Justice in Canada: a Reader (3rd ed., pp. 59-75). Toronto: Thomson Nelson.

Griffiths, C. T. (2007). Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer (3rd Edition ed.). Toronto: Thomson Nelson.

Kellough, G. (1996). Getting Bail: Ideology in Action. In T. O'Reilly-Flemming (Ed.), Post-Critical Criminology (pp. 159-183). Toronto: Prentice-Hall.

Manarin, B. (2008). Role of the Prosecutor. In J. V. Roberts, & M. G. Grossman (Eds.), Criminal justice in Canada: a reader (3rd Edition ed., pp. 36-47). Toronto: Thomson Nelson.
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