What to expect in a Criminal Trial Procedure

The purpose of a trial is for the prosecutor to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt,” (in other words, any uncertainty of the accused’s innocence has been eliminated and there is reliable proof of their guilt) that the accused committed a crime. A trial is held in a courtroom.

Preliminary Hearing

The beginning of the process is the preliminary hearing. During this step, the Court evaluates whether there is sufficient evidence to begin a trial for the case. The prosecutor’s role is to present substantial evidence against the accused. Witnesses of the crime are sometimes called to court as their testimony is considered a valid form of evidence. If sufficient evidence is not found, the charge is dismissed. If sufficient evidence is found and the accused pleads “not guilty,” a trial date is set.


During the trial, the prosecutor and defense lawyer tries their best to present the case in their favor by using evidence and witnesses who testify. Although they may have already testified in the preliminary hearing, it is essential for witnesses to testify at trial. They may be cross-examined to further evaluate the accuracy of their statement.

Being a witness at a trial may be challenging. To make the process less difficult, the Court may provide the victim of the crime with the option of giving testimony using testimonial aids. The victim may:

· Testify through a closed-circuit television so that the victim is outside the courtroom;

· Testify from behind a screen or other device so that the victim cannot see the accused; or

· Have a support person sit close to the victim when he or she testifies.

The prosecutor is the first to begin the trial process and the defence lawyer follows the lead. The accused individual has a right to remain silent throughout the trial, or they may choose to be involved. By doing so, they subject themselves to cross-examination by the prosecutor and may have to answer questions.

Once all of the evidence has been presented and the witnesses have been called, the prosecutor and defence lawyer present their closing arguments. If the prosecutor was able to successfully prove without a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime, they will be found guilty and charged accordingly. If the prosecutor failed to do so, the accused will be found not guilty.

Court System

The Court of Ontario has two divisions: The Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice. The more serious cases are heard at the Superior Court of Justice, including serious criminal offences, divorces, civil cases involving a large sum of money and challenges to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The less serious cases are heard at the Ontario Court of Justice, including criminal offences that are not the most serious, preliminary hearings and violations of provincial laws.

It is important to know the process of a trial before being involved in a trial procedure. If you have any questions about the process, do not hesitate to contact us at Tailor Law Professional Corporation. We have highly skilled lawyers who will assist you with legal advice. You may contact us at 905-366-0202, or visit our website here.




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