NOTE: Most COVID and protest tickets fall under Part 3 of the Provincial Offences Act. The information being shared here is from that perspective. If you have received a ticket for violating the emergency measures, whether it was violating the Re-opening Ontario act, or refusing the invasive PCR and/or quarantine upon return to Canada from abroad, you CAN represent yourself in court.
This guide is designed to provide an overview of the court process to help you understand the steps and what to expect as you move through the court system.
Things to consider when deciding to do self-representation: the charge you are facing, the complexity of the case, your understanding of the legal process and the issues, and the risk of a substantial fine, jail time or other penalty that would have significant personal impact (for example, driving demerit points, driver’s licence suspension). A good alternative to having a lawyer represent you in the courtroom is to hire a lawyer for legal consultation. This allows you to still take control of your case, while still accessing the knowledge of a legal professional.
Please also watch our Self-Representation Info Sessions to learn more. Watch all the Self-Rep Zoom replays on our Rumble channel HERE.
NOTE: Self-representation scripts are listed at the bottom of this page.
Step 1 – Responding to a Ticket:
If you have received a ticket you must confirm with the court your intentions immediately (typically within 15 days) or you will be deemed at fault and will receive a bill for the full amount of the offence. To submit the ticket for trial, read the directions on the back of the ticket, look up the provincial courthouse of where the ticket was issued online and/or call the courthouse of where the ticket was issued get the instructions.
NOTE: DO NOT SEND BACK YOUR TICKET WITH RESCIND/NO CONTRACT! THE COURTS WILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THIS AND YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO PAY THE TICKET IN FULL
Or Step 1 – Responding to a Summons:
If you have received a summons you must follow the directions to attend the first hearing at the date and time stated on the summons. If that date and time do not work, you will need to contact the Prosecutions office in advance of the date of the first hearing, to discuss a different hearing date and time. You can also file a formal motion for this, which is a formal process using a court form. This formal process typically requires notice to the court within 10 days prior to the court appearance date. Failing to respond to a summons may result in a warrant for your arrest.
*A motion is to ask the court for something, it's an application. If the court grants the request, the answer becomes enforceable. Ie. A new hearing date.
Step 2 – Request Your Disclosure:
Whether you choose to self-represent or work with a lawyer you should request your disclosure yourself. Disclosure if the full evidence from the charging officer(s) that is given to the crown to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed and is used as their case agains you. You have a right to full and complete access to the evidence being put forward to the court. Be aware that if you are thinking of getting a lawyer and you hire the lawyer before obtaining your disclosure, you may never get full access to your disclosure as once it is given to the lawyer it may not be easy to get it back.
The disclosure may include:
NOTE REGARDING DISCLOSURE:
If you are having challenges getting disclosure from the prosecutor or the crown you have two solutions through case law, depending on the issue.
If you don't receive the needed evidence, after you have requested it, you can make a Stinchcombe application to the court asking that ALL evidence, not just want the crown/prosecutor is planning to use against you. This based off a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that states that ALL evidence is to be provided to the defendant in order to have a full defence.
Stinchcombe Application link:
And if you are looking for third party evidence, such a video surveillance, you can do what's called an O’Connor application, you must serve a copy of the application on the Crown and the person who has those documents. You must also serve a subpoena on the person who has or is responsible for those documents"
O'Connor Application links:
Step 3 – First appearance (YOU MAY GO STRAIGHT TO TRIAL IF YOU HAVE YOUR DISCLOSURE, SO BE PREPARED!):
In your first appearance you may go straight to trial without first doing a pre-trail so alway be prepared with your questions for cross-examination and your closing argument - you can use the Travel script linked below.
Or the crown will ask if you wish to negotiate a deal or if you intend to seek a trial. You will state your intentions and in this case (presumably) you will request a trial date.
BC court process:
- the first appearance is where you will request your disclosure
- then you will have a second appearance to state your plea
Step 4 - Judicial Pre-Trial (you may or may not have a pre-trial):
In this meeting the JP will review the case to determine if there is enough substantial evidence to proceed. You will want to be fully prepared for the pre-trial as this is the opportunity for you to request the charges be dropped.
NOTE: IF YOU ENGAGED WITH LEGAL REPRESENTATION (to represent you in court) YOU CANNOT ATTEND THIS MEETING
Step 5 - Case Management Court (you may or may not have a pre-trial):
If the JP has determined the your case will proceed to trial, this meeting is to schedule the trial date. In this meeting you will determine the length of the trial, who will be called as witnesses, etc. We recommend giving yourself more time, so the suggestion is 2-3 days. You can call witnesses to support you case.
Step 6 - Trial:
This is the final step where the JP and yourself will present your cases to the JP. You will want to be very well prepared for this meeting by having your position very clearly identified and written out. You will have an opportunity to present your case (your defence) and to call your witnesses, as well as cross examine the prosecutor's witness(es).
Overview of court process:
1. Court will convene, formal announcement by the clerk
2. Clerk will read the docket number and your offence
3. You will be asked to state your name and the proceedings will commence
4. The prosecutor will bring in their witnesses for questioning
5. Then you will cross-examine with your questions
6. Once the questions are over the prosecutor will read their closing arguments and then you present yours
IMPORTANT LINKS BY PROVINCE: https://stand4thee.com/court-links
We have compiled a list of case law that is frequently used for Provincial Offence Act (POA) charges, Quarantine Act tickets and or criminal charges related to COVID measures.
Read through the case law summary to find the most suitable court case rulings for your situation. READ HERE.
Two versions are available, PDF and a working word file with links to the case law.
Use this case studies to help you build your defence, or to create a motion to the court. These are real world examples that other individuals have used in their cases and we are sharing here in the hopes that you can leverage this information for your case/upcoming court appearance.
You can read the case studies HERE.
We will continue to update this database of case studies as we continue to work on more cases.
If you have a case study you would like to share, please remove your personal information and send it to Stand4THEE@gmail.com.
In all levels of court there are specific court procedures and court process that must followed. If the courts are remise or negligent in following these procedure this may lead to your charges being dismissed/withdrawn.
1. Pay attention to the time lapse between the date of the incident and the date the charges were laid; provincial is typically 30 days to NOTIFY the defendant of the charges and 12 months for criminal charges. If you have not been properly notified within the specified time period this can be a case for dismissal.
2. Once you have started court proceedings the courts have a finite window of time to complete the trial; for provincial offences that is 18 months and for criminal charges its 30 months. This is solidified in the case law, R v Jordan.
3. Service of Delivery for Provincial Offences in (Ontario) states that you are to be served in person; Provincial Offences Act:
Service (3) The offence notice or summons shall be served personally upon the person charged within thirty days after the alleged offence occurred. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33, s. 3 (3).
4. You have the right to have your charges clearly identified promptly; if your charges are not clearly identified, this is a violation of your rights under section 2(c)(i) of the Canadian Bill of Rights:
Construction of law
2 Every law of Canada shall, unless it is expressly declared by an Act of the Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights, be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, abridge or infringe or to authorize the abrogation, abridgment, or infringement of any of the rights or freedoms herein recognized and declared, and in particular, no law of Canada shall be construed or applied so as to
(a) authorize or effect the arbitrary detention, imprisonment or exile of any person;
(b) impose or authorize the imposition of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;
(c) deprive a person who has been arrested or detained
(i) of the right to be informed promptly of the reason for his arrest or detention,
(ii) of the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay, or
(iii) of the remedy by way of habeas corpus for the determination of the validity of his detention and for his release if the detention is not lawful;
When you are in a courtroom, whether online or in person, there are basic rules to follow. These rules really are common sense, however, it's easy for forget the formalities when doing Zoom.
Here are some pointers to act like a pro in the courtroom:
1. BE PREPARED! Study you files and write out your defence well in advance and practice if you need to. You want to feel confident during the proceedings. Reading a script is OK and you will look professional by being able to speak fluidly.
2. Be prepared to be on video, with others in the room so be presentable.
3. Have a pen and paper with you so you can take notes and address points when it's appropriate for your to speak.
4. Avoid interrupting others, the pen and paper will help this impulse as you can write down what you want to address and can do so when it's appropriate.
5. DO NOT LIVE the court proceedings, this can land you with a contempt charge!
6. If you would like to speak, ask "May I address the court", then say what you need to say and be polite and professional.
7. Avoid interrupting, being rude to others, shouting... show respect and get respect.
Self-Represented Accused Persons Before the Pre-Trial Conference Ontario
Criminal Law Handbook for the self-represented accused.
Key take aways:
Guide for Accused Persons in Criminal Trials
Withdraw and dismissal of Charges
Definition: Charges dropped vs Case dismissed
Case dismissal is a different decision that is handed down by the judge, and is when the judge elects not to go further with the case. A common reason is that the prosecutor may not have enough reasonable evidence to conduct a fair trial. Their case is weak and maybe just circumstantial. In this instance the case is dismissed for “want of prosecution”.,, Is it in the public interest to proceed with the charges?
Most arrests related to the illegal shutting down of the Convoy were charges of "mischief" section 430 (4). The description of mischief under the Criminal Code of Canada is found here.
The charge of mischief in regards to the Convoy is easy to call baloney on: this crime always requires damage to property. Damage? What damage. Show the damage. We didn't damage property.
Check out these 11 little checkboxes (sourced from the Criminal Notebook) that have to be gone through in order to prove the offense of mischief,
Use this script if you have received a ticket for refusing the Quarantine Orders when returning back to Canada.
Travel Script: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ldRe8qfU0Gz7RTaRzjkn6KFQq-CLZS2Z?usp=sharing
Also, if you were harmed by the travel restrictions you can take action directly against the minister responsible, learn more here: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/11tOxkD_L22wVSu5iT-zWSImL_oIOzbJR
If you are looking for specific information for travel and/or quarantine tickets you can find everything you need here: https://stand4thee.com/quarantine-act-1
Use this script if you have received a ticket for protesting anywhere in Canada.
Protest Script: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-498Z1wGxoNuvSO962ESWa501AQfxUtL8tojv4Vf0x8/edit?usp=sharing
Case law to support your right to protest:
Supreme Court of Canada on the powers of police officers under the common law ancillary powers doctrine. The Court unanimously held that police officers did not have the authority to arrest someone engaging in lawful conduct to prevent a breach of peace by others.
2. Bracken v. The Town of Fort Erie
Ban on 'loud' protester from town property overturned as unconstitutional. Ruled that “The area in front of a Town Hall is a place where free expression not only has traditionally occurred, but can be expected to occur in a free and democratic society,” Miller said. “The literal town square is paradigmatically the place for expression of public dissent.”
Use this script if you where charged for violating the Reopening Ontario Act during a shutdown.
Protest Script: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MljevcPnNjT1C2q2FYAOwz2N5lI_UGlYIL_Eu03-aaU/edit?usp=sharing