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AccusedThe person charged with a crime.
AcquittalA court finding of NOT GUILTY.
AdjournmentA temporary delay of court proceedings.
AffirmationA non-religious oath given by a witness before testifying, promising that the evidence they offer is to the best of their knowledge, the truth.
AppealAn application for a judicial review by a higher court of a lower court’s decision.
Appearance NoticeAn order that tells the accused to go to court at a specified time to answer charges that have been laid.
BailFinancial or other security put up by the accused or by someone on the accused’s behalf as an assurance that the accused will appear in court on the date of trial.
Beyond a Reasonable DoubtIn criminal cases the Crown has to meet a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The Crown must show that the evidence is so complete and convincing that the judge/jury has not reasonable doubts about the accused’s guilt.
ComplainantThe victim of an alleged crime.
Conditional DischargeOccurs when the accused, after being found guilty, is discharged under certain conditions ordered by the judge. If the accused complies with the conditions, he or she will not have a criminal record.
Conditional SentenceA sentence that is served by the offender in the community. The offender would remain in the community under supervision and would be required to abide by a number of conditions.
Contempt of CourtInterfering with the administration of justice or ignoring the rules of the court.
CorroborationEvidence that supports or confirms other evidence of testimony.
Cross ExaminationBoth the Crown and the Defence counsel have the right to question (cross examine) a witness by the other side.
Crown ProsecutorA government appointed agent who prosecutes criminal offences on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada. The Crown presents all relevant evidence to the judge or jury that sheds light upon the offence of which the accused is charged.
Court of Queen’s BenchTry the most serious criminal and civil cases including cases involving large amounts of money and Family Law including divorce, custody and property settlements.
Docket CourtProvincial court of first appearance in which trial dates are set or guilty pleas entered.
ElectionThe procedure by which an accused chooses to be tried by Queen’s Bench Judge and Jury, Queen’s Bench Judge alone, or by a Provincial Judge.
Election by the CrownProcedure under which the Crown decides whether to prosecute a case as a summary conviction offence (less serious penalty) or as an indictable offence (more serious).
Indictable OffenceA category of criminal offences that are usually more serious crimes and carry greater maximum sentences. (i.e. Sex assault). It may carry a penalty ranging from a fine to life imprisonment.
Intermittent SentenceA prison term of 90 days or less given to a person convicted of an offence. The time is usually served on a weekend in most cases – which allows the convicted person to continue with his employment.
Judicial Interim Release“JIR” A Court order granted by a judge or Justice Of The Peace releasing the accused from custody on his/her own bond or promise to appear.
Legal AidLegal services for those who cannot afford to hire counsel and offers different kinds of help depending on your legal problem and where you live in Canada.
No Contact OrderA court order preventing the accused from seeing or speaking to someone.
ParoleThe early release of an offender from incarceration in which he/she serves the remainder of his/her sentence in the community under supervision and specific conditions.
PerjuryWhen a person gives evidence in court that he/she knows is false. Anyone who commits perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and may be liable to imprisonment for a term not longer than 14 years.
Plea BargainingProcess of the Crown accepting a guilty plea on a lesser charge instead of incurring the expense and problems of a trial on the original charge.
Preliminary Hearing“Pre Lim”, Court session held before the trial so that the judge may determine if there is sufficient evidence to justify holding a trial.
Pre-Sentence ReportA description of the accused’s family life and personal situation, prepared by a Probation Office, which the judge uses to help in deciding an appropriate sentence.
ProbationCourt order which releases a convicted person under supervision and with direction to obey certain conditions.
RecognizanceAn accused is released on his or her own recognizance when the Judge or Justice of the Peace gives permission for the accused to be released on bail, subject to the conditions specified on the appropriate form.
RemandTo send or order back to prison.
Reserve JudgmentA judge hearing a case may decide to take some time to do research, study the law or review the evidence presented at the trial before making a decision.
RestitutionAn act of repaying or compensating for loss, damage, or injury.
Show Case HearingA Hearing where the Crown Attorney must convince the court that the accused should be kept in jail until the trial.
Statutory ReleaseA form or conditional release that allows most federal offenders to serve the last third of his/her sentence in the community.
Stay of ProceedingsA suspension of court proceedings on a particular charge but that can come back within a year.
SubpoenaAn order directing a person to appear in court as a witness.
Summary Conviction OffenceA category of criminal offences that are usually less serious crimes and carry lower sentences.
SummonsLegal document ordering the appearance in court of an accused person.
SuretyPerson who agrees to be responsible for the accused’s appearance in court.
Suspended SentenceJudge’s order that the sentence given a guilty person need not be imposed, provided that the accused meets certain conditions set by the court. If the accused does not meet the conditions, the Judge can pass sentence on the original charge. A new charge may be laid for breaking the suspended sentence.
Temporary AbsenceAn escorted or unescorted temporary absence from prison in order to receive medical attention, have contact with family, undergo personal development and/or counselling, participate in community service projects or can be granted on compassionate grounds such as a funeral.
TestimonyAny evidence given.
VerdictA jury’s finding in a case. It must be unanimous.
Victim Impact StatementA written account of the personal harm suffered by a victim of crime. It may include a description of the physical, financial and emotional effects of the crime. It must be taken into consideration by the judge. Voir DireTrial within a trial to determine the admissibility of certain evidence.
WarrantCourt order giving legal authority to arrest a person.
WithdrawalWhen charges against the accused are withdrawn, no further action will be taken against the accused on that particular charge.
Young OffenderThose aged 12 to seventeen are considered youths under Canadian Criminal Law and fall within the scope of the Young Offenders Act.
A Victim Advocate may assist a victim/witness who appears in court. This court support may have up to three phases:
1. Court orientation - Helping the victim/witness get ready for the experience of appearing in court. Court orientation is intended to assist a victim/witness to:
Understand the court environment and court process.Cope with the stressors of the situation.Victim Advocates court orientation is about the court environment and court process. The Victim Advocates’ court orientation process involves assessing and addressing the needs of the victim/witness with respect to information, safety, and support. The court orientation provided by a Victim Advocate does not involve discussion of testimony. In fact, the Victim Advocate must not discuss the victim witness’s evidence. Crown prosecutor preparation with a victim/witness is about the evidence to be presented.
2. Court accompaniment – Victim Advocates may assist victims by accompanying them to court. The victim may want to be in court to observe the proceedings or a victim may be required to be in court as a witness.
Victim Advocates may also assist victims after a trial and after sentencing, in cases where the victim needs to interact with the Correctional system regarding the status or location of the convicted offender.
3. Court follow-up – Victim Advocates ensure the victim/ witness has follow-up information and assistance as appropriate.They can assist the victim/witness to convey concerns to appropriate people in the court or criminal justice system, or refer the victim to other community resources.
Depending on the wishes of the victim/ witness, a Victim Advocate may be involved in any or all of these phases of court support.
Provincial Court – Edmonton – Queen’s BenchPh: 780-422-2200
Civil Division, Main Floor Law Courts1A, Sir Winston Churchill Square Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0R2
Edmonton Courts ServicesFor General Information Call:780-427-2745 or 780-422-2426 (Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday)
Family Justice ServicesPh: 780-865-8384 Fax: 780-865-8253 780-361-1204237 Jasper Street West, Pembina Avenue, Hinton,ABwww.albertacourts.ab.ca
Court of Queen’s Bench – Criminal DivisionPh: 780-422-2410
Community CorrectionsPh: 780-865-8270 Fax: 780-865-8319560 Carmichael Lane, Hinton AB
Crown Prosecutor’s OfficePh: 780-865-82852nd Floor, Mount Miette Building, 201 Pembina Ave, Hinton, ABwww.justice.alberta.ca