Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Common Types of Disclosure in Theft in Mississauga?
The Crown’s duty to disclose is a principle of fundamental justice. The right to disclosure gives the accused right to know the case to meet and the right to make a full answer and defence. Commonly, disclosure includes any piece of evidence that may be relevant to the case. These things can include transcripts or recordings of 911 calls, police on-the-scene reports, complainant statements, officer notes, the accused’s criminal history, and an accused’s statement should the accused offer one.
Complications regarding who owns the property may ensue during a case. Disclosure may include relevant documentation regarding ownership of the property in question. Photographic evidence as well as video evidence relevant in the case may also be utilized. The Court may also ask for proof of ownership and value of the property under section 657.1 of the Criminal Code.
Why Does Disclosure Take so Long?
Disclosure may take a long time to complete, as procedural rules must be followed. First, the police in Mississauga will gather evidence and run a background check on the accused. Any criminal record the accused may have will be in the disclosure. The police then send the information to the Crown, who then processes it. The Crown will screen and vet the files for a position, at the same time redacting any sensitive information in the case. They will then begin providing disclosure material to the accused as it becomes available. Disclosure is typically not received all at once.
Depending on the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the offence, the Crown may either proceed by summary election or by indictment. There are different penalties for each election, and penalties may be more severe if the Crown proceeded by indictment. Where the case is more complicated, the disclosure process is likely to take longer.
What is the Process of Getting Disclosure in Oakville?
The Criminal Code is a federal piece of legislation, meaning that its jurisdiction covers all provinces. As such, most criminal court proceedings are standardized across provinces. However, there are still minute differences different local courts and crown offices may employ. With the advent of technology, many types of disclosure can be delivered electronically, though procedures vary between jurisdictions.
To begin an application for disclosure, a counsel or representative of the accused must speak with the Crown’s office and submit a request. The Crown’s office will then direct counsel on how to receive and obtain it. A delay in disclosure and a prolonging of the case may violate the accused’s right to be tried within a reasonable time. If this happens, the accused may be able to apply for a section 11(b) stay of proceedings.
What are some Aggravating and Mitigating Factors for Theft?
Aggravating and mitigating factors are factors during sentencing that the Court would consider in determining a fit and proper sentence. Section 718 of the Criminal Code codifies the purposes and principles of sentencing for criminal offences. By codifying these principles, the Criminal Code brings greater clarity and consistency to the sentencing process. These principles are, but are not limited to: denunciation and deterrence, separation from society, and rehabilitation. As theft is a non-violent crime, rehabilitation may be emphasized during sentencing if the judge deemed there were enough mitigating factors.
An aggravating factor may be a criminal record; a pattern of criminality means the offender had a lesser chance at rehabilitation and a higher chance of engaging in the criminal system again. A breach of trust is also an aggravating factor. For example, if an employee stole from their job, they have breached the trust their employer has given them. If the person is in a position of trust or authority and or has a relationship with the complainant, this may be an aggravating factor. A lack of recovery of items or the offender’s inability to compensate the owner may be an aggravating factor as well. The value is items taken may be mitigating where the value was low and aggravating where it was high.
Neutral factors or other factors to consider would be any history of substance use, mental health issues or abuse. These may contribute to the type of sentencing a court may offer, as counselling services and help may be suggested to the offender.
What are the Penalties Associated with Theft?
Theft has no mandatory minimum penalties. Theft may result in jail time but depending on the mitigating factors may result in either a suspended sentence, a discharge or diversion. For offences such as shoplifting or low value theft, if the accused has no prior record they may be offered discharges, suspended sentences, or fines.
The offence of theft over $5,000 enumerated in section 334(a) of the Criminal Code is indictable and may result in a maximum penalty of 10 years incarceration. Section 334(b) describes theft not exceeding $5,000 and is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown may elect to proceed summarily or by indictment. If the Crown chose to proceed by indictment, the maximum sentence may be five years incarceration. If the Crown chose to proceed by summary election, the accused may be subject to a maximum penalty of two years less a day in prison and/or a up to $5,000 fine. The offence of theft over $5,000, is also a secondary designated offence listed under s. 487.04(a). This means that a DNA order is discretionary, left up to the decision of the Court. In addition, ancillary orders such as restitution orders and victim fine surcharges may be entered.