A large part of any criminal case is Crown negotiations. The Crown prosecutor is opposing counsel to the defence counsel if there is one, or the accused if they are self-represented. Prior to ever getting to a trial or guilty plea, the Crown and defence will engage in negotiations. These negotiations typically occur at Crown pre-trials. The Crown pre-trial is one of the first steps in moving a case along after disclosure has been received.
A Crown pre-trial is a formal way for the Crown and defence counsel, or the accused, to engage in meaningful discussions and negotiations regarding the case. It is essentially a meeting between opposing counsel where both sides can explain their position and determine how best to proceed with the case.
While a Crown pre-trial is a formal way for the parties to discuss the case, it typically occurs in a more informal manner. A Crown pre-trial may occur in person, but often occurs over the phone. Crown discussions may also occur via email outside of a formal Crown pre-trial.
If the accused intends to plead guilty to the offence(s) charged, the Crown and defence will discuss the terms of the guilty plea and sentencing. If the matter is going to be set down for trial, the lawyers may discuss trial estimates or other issues relevant to the trial.
Crown pre-trials are also an opportunity for defence counsel or the accused to address any issues they are having with disclosure. An accused who has not received disclosure for an extended period of time is recommended to schedule a Crown pre-trial as soon as possible to discuss the issue.