Civilian initiated Criminal Charges

Civilian initiated Criminal Charges

Is there any way for someone other than a Police Officer to have a criminal charge laid against another individual? The answer is yes.

Private citizens, just like police officers, can initiate the process by which someone is charged with a criminal offence.  You would have to attend at a Justice of the Peace office in the jurisdiction in which the offence arose and fill out paperwork to commence the process.

Prior to any charge actually being laid, you (or a lawyer who represents you) will have to attend court for something known as a pre-enquete hearing.  This hearing is used as a screening device, to ensure that there is an evidentiary foundation to your allegations and they are not simply frivolous or vexatious.

The Crown is entitled to notice of the hearing, as well as the right to attend it.  It can call evidence, cross-examine any witness that you bring forward and make submissions to the court.    Once all evidence is heard, the court will decide whether or not to “issue process” (i.e. to require the accused person to attend court to answer the charge(s)).

Contact a Toronto Criminal Lawyer for a FREE consultation regarding a privately laid criminal charge at (647) 878 – 6355.

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