Show All Answers
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
Application for a Restraining OrderA package referred to as ‘Package #24, Restraining Order Without Notice’ is available at the Family Justice Services, Family Law Information Centres or at the front counter of any other Court of Queen’s Bench office. There is no fee for the package or for the application.
- Must be obtained in combination with another legal action (e.g. divorce)- Victim seeks restraining order through the Court of Queen’s Bench. Victim must complete affidavit or questionnaire as part of the application process- Application must happen during normal court hours- Lawyer not required though one may be helpful- No court fees for the application, but will require a process server to serve the restraining order on the accused- Restraining order is not in effect until the accused has been served notice- Can be put into effect fairly quickly (within 24 hours) Conditions
- Can be ordered for up to 6 months, and can be renewed- Violations of the restraining order are not a criminal offence. If the restraining order is breached, the offender could be cited for civil contempt- Restraining orders are public documents. Some individuals (i.e. those in same gender relationships) may be reluctant to apply Things to remember- A copy of the restraining order should be kept on the victim at all times, in case the victim needs to verify that a restraining order is in effect- If a respondent violates a restraining order, notify police immediately- If the respondent is unlikely to comply with the restraining order, the police may not be able to protect the claimant. The claimant should arrange for other safety measures as well as the restraining order
A Queen’s Bench protection order may be issued during the review of an emergency protection order or may be ordered after an application before a Queen’s Bench Justice.
Available only to victims of family violence, as defined in the Protection Against Family Violence Act (please see Domestic Violence module).
A Queen’s Bench protection order could be helpful to a victim of domestic violence who would benefit from some of the other conditions available only through a Queen’s Bench protection order.
In addition to all the condition of an emergency protection order, a Queen’s Bench protection order can also include the following conditions:
- Require the abusive family member to reimburse the claimant for monetary losses suffered as a result of family violence (for example, legal expenses, loss of earnings or support, medical and dental expenses, moving and accommodation expenses, out-of-pocket expenses for injuries, legal expenses and costs of an application for the protection order)- Allow either the claimant or respondent to temporarily possess specified personal property such as a vehicle, cheque book, bank cards, children’s clothing, medical insurance cards, identification documents, keys or other personal effects- Instruct either the claimant or respondent not to deal with or harm property in which they both have an interest- Require the respondent to post a bond to ensure compliance with the terms of the order- Require the respondent to receive counseling- Authorize counseling for a child in the care of the claimant, without consent of the respondent- Any other provision that the Court considers appropriate
A Queen’s Bench protection order is not in effect until the respondent has been served notice of the order.
Application for a Queen’s Bench protection orderWhen a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench reviews an emergency protection order, the Justice may revoke, continue or change the order. If the Justice continues or changes the order, it then becomes a Queen’s Bench protection order.
No application process or fee is required of the claimant if a Queen’s Bench protection order is granted as part of an emergency protection order review.
Victim application for a Queen’s Bench protection orderA victim of family violence may apply directly to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a Queen’s Bench protection order.
The victim may appear before the court without legal representation; however, obtaining a lawyer would be helpful. The court may also give permission for the victim to be represented by someone other than a lawyer.
When a victim applies directly for a Queen’s Bench protection order, the victim can hire a lawyer privately, or obtain a lawyer through Legal Aid, or through Court-based victim assistance programs in Edmonton and Calgary.
Individuals who have applied for a Queen’s Bench protection order should consider requesting that that it includes a provision requiring the respondent to come back and satisfy the court that all conditions have been met.
A Queen’s Bench protection order can be ordered for up to one year and may be extended for further one year periods.
Changing a Queen’s Bench Protection OrderIf the victim would like to change a Queen’s Bench protection order, she or he may complete an Application and Affidavit to explain the rationale for the changes. This is submitted to Court Services and a court date is scheduled and the victim is required to hire a process server to notify the respondent of the court date.
If only the respondent would like to change the Queen’s Bench protection order once it is in place, the respondent would have to file an appeal within the appropriate time.
If the claimant moves and wants the respondent to continue to be restrained from going to the victim’s new home, the claimant should seek a new provision for the Queen’s Bench protection order.
Conditions and limitations of a Queen’s Bench protection orderThe Queen’s Bench protection order is not in effect until the process server or lawyer hired by the victim has served notice to the respondent.
Violation of a Queen’s Bench protection order may be a criminal offence or the basis for a citation for civil contempt.
The claimant is responsible for informing the police if an order has been breached.
If the claimant allows the abusive person back into the home, the respondent may technically be in violation of the order regardless of the claimant’s intention. However, the circumstances of the violation might make it difficult to enforce the protection order. As well, contact by the claimant may make it harder to obtain a protection order in the future, especially if no further acts of family violence occur during this contact.
The Protection Against Family Violence Act’s provisions prohibiting contact may apply on First Nation reserves. However, each Band Council must pass a resolution to amend its bylaws to adopt the provisions included in the Act, in order for the Act to be applicable.
Things to RememberA copy of the Queen’s Bench protection order should be kept on the claimant’s person at all times, in case the victim needs to verify that a Queen’s Bench protection order is in effect.
If the respondent violates the Queen’s Bench protection order, it may be a criminal offence. The claimant should report the violation to police.
If the respondent is unlikely to comply with the Queen’s Bench protection order, the police may not be able to protect the claimant. The claimant should make additional plans to protect his or her safety in addition to the Queen’s Bench protection order.
Legal Remedies Regarding the Matrimonial HomeProtection order conditions regarding sole occupancy of one’s homeUnder the Protection Against Family Violence Act, emergency protection orders and Queen’s Bench protection orders may grant exclusive rights to occupy the family home to certain family members for a specified time.
Emergency protection orders and Queen’s Bench protection orders may direct police to remove abusive family members from the home temporarily, or direct to police.
Application for a Peace Bond- The victim does not need a lawyer to obtain a peace bond- The victim contacts the Provincial Court Criminal Division Clerk’s Office or the local police to request a peace bond- Requires an in-person hearing to have a summons issued for the defendant. In addition, the victim will have to attend court to give evidence at a hearing of why the other person is a threat. Victims should always report the acts to police firstto determine if a criminal offence has occurred- The Crown prosecutor will assist the victim with the actual hearing- No court fees for application Peace Bond Conditions- Can be ordered for a maximum of 12 months- Can include no contact conditions, area restrictions, weapons prohibitions and other conditions the court thinks are desirable to secure the good conduct of the defendant (i.e. counseling)- Violation of a peace bond is a criminal offence and an offender who breaches a peace bond can be arrested and charged. The penalty for violating a peace bond can range from probation to a fine to a term of imprisonment for up to twoyears- Peace bonds are public documents. Some individuals (i.e. those in same gender relationships) may be reluctant to apply Things to Remember- It is helpful for the victim to keep a copy of the peace bond with them to show police, if needed - If the respondent violates the peace bond, the claimant should contact police immediately- If the respondent is unlikely to comply with the peace bond, the police may not be able to protect the claimant. The claimant should arrange for other safety measures as well as the peace bond
Legal Aid is not free to the applicant. Individuals who receive Legal Aid will have to pay some of it back. When the case is finished, the Legal Aid Society will seek repayment. If it is difficult for the individual to make the repayment, the Legal Aid Society will usually negotiate terms, which will allow the person to repay the loan. The individual may be asked to provide some sort of security for repayment such as signing a promissory note.
Legal Aid lawyers from the same law firm cannot assist both the victim and the accused. In smaller communities, there may be only one law firm. Thus, if the accused person seeks assistance from Legal Aid before the victim does, the victim may be declined service. The victim could seek Legal Aid in another community. Legal Aid Alberta
Exclusive Home Possession OrderA court order requiring that one spouse leave the family home and prohibiting that spouse from entering the home or being near the home. The order is granted under Alberta’s Matrimonial Property Act, and can be obtained for a home (house, suite, apartment, condominium) that is owned, leased or rented.
An exclusive home possession order can:- Direct the abusive family member to vacate the home for a specified time- Restrain the abusive person from entering or visiting the home if the victim requests it- Order an abusive person to pay the rent, lease or mortgage- Under some circumstances, grant a victim possession of the furniture in the home and the family vehicle- Suspend the right of ownership of either or both the victim and the abusive person (suspending right of ownership means a person cannot sell the home, even if the person is the legal owner. An exclusive home possession order gives the right of possession, not right to ownership)
Application for an Exclusive Home Possession OrderA spouse must apply for an exclusive home possession order. It is recommended that the services of a lawyer should be obtained when making a request for an exclusive home possession order, as the legal procedures can be complicated.
After the application for an exclusive home possession order has been made, the abusive person will be notified that a court hearing will take place and he or she will be given an opportunity to oppose the order.
In deciding whether or not to grant an exclusive home possession order the court will consider the availability of other accommodations for both spouses, the needs of the children, the financial circumstances of the spouses, and the conduct of the two spouses if the court determines that is relevant.
If granted, the exclusive home possession order will remain in effect until the term of the order has lapsed, or until a second order is granted by a Justice terminating the first order.
Limitations of an Exclusive Home Possession OrderIt is unlikely that a victim will be able to obtain an exclusive home possession order if children will not be remaining with him or her and if there has not been any violence. The court will always try to take into consideration the interests of the children and will try to place them in a situation that is as close to normal as possible.
If a person is living on a First Nation reserve, she or he will not be eligible for an exclusive home possession order. Under the Indian Act, the federal government regulates reserves, so the provisions in the provincial Matrimonial Property Actregarding property do not apply.
Under the Indian Act, the Band Council controls how property and housing on the reserve are divided among members of the band. Provincial family laws giving a person a right to claim exclusive possession of a home do not apply.
Things to RememberThe victim should keep a copy of any court order with herlhim if the victim wants police to enforce the order. The police must see the order to know if it has been violated.
If the abused person invites hislher spouse onto the premises, that is a breach or violation of the exclusive home possession order and the police will be hesitant to enforce it.
If spouses begin to live together again, the exclusive home possession order is no longer in effect.
An order by a justice of the peace or a provincial court judge that can prohibit an abusive family member from being in the same location, or contacting or communicating with other family members. The emergency protection order may have other conditions.
An emergency protection order can be applied for 24 hours a day. If the judge or justice of the peace agrees that conditions of the Protection Against Family Violence Act are met, the EPO can be granted immediately.
An EPO is available only to victims of family violence as defined in the Protection Against Family Violence Act.
An emergency protection order can:- Provide immediate protection for a victim of family violence- Keep the accused away from the home, workplace, school or other places where family members might be present- If granted, the emergency protection order takes effect immediately.
Conditions and limitations of emergency protection orders- Violation of an emergency protection order may be a criminal offence or the basis for a citation for civil contempt.
If both the claimant and the respondent want to cease the EPO, they may be able to have the matter brought forward to Queen’s Bench Chambers to apply for a consent order vacating the EPO.
Things to rememberIf the respondent breaches the emergency protection order the claimant should contact police immediately.
A copy of the emergency protection order should be kept on the victim at all times, in case the victim needs to verify that the EPO is in effect.
An EPO can be granted whether or not criminal charges have been laid.
Choose only the suggestions listed here that make sense for your set of circumstances.
Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser, there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.
Call the Family Violence Information Line at (780)310-1818 to speak with trained personnel who provide referrals and information for victims of domestic violence.Safety when preparing to leave:
LEAVING CAN BE THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME!
- Have a safe place to stay. Make sure it is a place that can protect you and your children.- Find out which services and shelters are available as options if you need them. www.acws.ca provides a list of all shelters in Alberta.- Find someone you trust. Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents and clothing with them in advance, so you can leave quickly, if necessary.- Open a savings account. Put it in your name only, to increase your independence. - - Consider direct deposit from your paycheck or benefit check.- Make plans for any pets that you have that you are unable to take and you cannot leave behind. If you have no place to leave your pets and this will prevent you from leaving, mention this to the shelter when you call and they may be able to assist with some accommodations.- If any household bills are in your name (ie. Phone, gas, cable), cancel them after you leave.- Change your email address, phone numbers, all PINS and passwords.- Shred all discarded mail personal papers.- Keep your shrubs/trees, trimmed outside your house. Information and SafetyStrategies for Victims of Domestic Violence
- Make plans for any pets that you have that you are unable to take and you cannot leave behind. If you have no place to leave your pets and this will prevent you from leaving, mention this to the shelter when you call and they may be able to assist with some accommodations.- If any household bills are in your name (ie. Phone, gas, cable), cancel them after you leave.- Change your email address, phone numbers, all PINS and passwords.- Shred all discarded mail personal papers.
- To provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community- To hold the offender accountable and responsible, by acknowledging the harm done to victims and the community- If a judge orders an offender to pay restitution, the offender pays the victim. - Arrangements are usually made for the money from the offender to be paid at Court Services, who then forward the money to the victim. The victim is responsible for providing their contact information to Court Services, if restitution is ordered. In rare instances the offender has paid the victim directly but this is notrecommended.
The victim is responsible to collect the amount in the restitution order. A restitution order is made at the time of sentencing. A victim who wishes restitution must request it.
Injury Benefit and Death Benefit1. The Injury Application is to be completed if:- The victim was injured as a direct result of a violent crime.- The victim witnesses someone with whom they have a strong emotional attachment die as a result of a violent crime or are present in the immediate aftermath of the crime.- The Death Benefit Application is to be completed if the applicant has paid the funeral costs of a victim who has died as a result of violent crime.
Injury BenefitPrograms in other parts of Canada and in other countries are often based on the idea of ‘compensation’ – repayment to compensate for actual expenses or damages caused by the crime. Alberta’s Financial Benefits Program is based on a different concept. It provides a financial benefit based on the injury rather than compensation for loss or damages. The injury benefit not intended to compensate for financial loss (for example, ambulance expenses, loss of earnings, etc.). Rather, it pays a one-time fixed sum ofmoney to acknowledge the injury that was done to the victim of a violent crime.
A victim who sustained an injury resulting in quadriplegia or traumatic brain damage and who is fully dependent on others to engage in activities of daily living (bathing, feeding, toileting, etc.) may be eligible for a monthly payment in addition to the Financial Benefits one-time fixed sum of money. An individual capable of performing some of these functions would not be eligible for the supplement.
Death BenefitIf the crime resulted in death, funeral costs may be claimed by the person who paid the costs of the victim’s funeral. The applicant must provide original receipts that indicate, by name, that the applicant paid for funeral costs.
Reimbursement for funeral services may be paid up to $12,500.
Crisis or trauma is an experience so severe or unusual that the mind cannot assimilate or master it in the usual way. The stressors in trauma are intense, unexpected and unusual. They are beyond the range of normal human experience. The individual’s psychological equilibrium is disturbed and the individual may develop traumatic stress reactions.
Crisis InterventionDefinition: Crisis intervention is the active, temporary entry into the life situation of an individual, family or group during a period of unusual stress.
Intent of crisis intervention: To facilitate the rapid removal of the stressors affecting the crisis victim. The intervention process is intended to help the person involved in the crisis identify and apply new coping resources.
What is a victim impact statement (VIS)?
Section 722 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides victims of crime with an opportunity to describe in writing to the court how the crime has affected their lives. A victim impact statement is a written statement in the victim’s own words that describes:
- How the victim’s life has been affected by being a victim of the offence- What physical or emotional losses or impacts have been experienced as a result of the offence - If charges are laid and the accused person is found guilty, the victim impact statement will be considered by the Court before sentencing.
Purpose of a Victim Impact StatementFor the victim:Provides a victim with an opportunity to state how his or her life has been affected by the crime, and any physical and emotional loss experienced as a result of the crime.
For the Court:Assists the Court and the offender to understand how the crime has affected the victim’s life.
Who can prepare a victim impact statement?A victim of any crime where an offender has been charged may prepare a victim impact statement. For the purposes of a victim impact statement, a ‘victim’ is a person to whom harm was done or who suffered physical or emotional loss as a result of the offence.