Jury and Non-Jury Trials

Jury and Non-Jury Trials

Jury and Non-Jury Trials: What Works for you?

Under Canadian law, the constitution grants you the right to be tried by a jury of your peers for crimes punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment. The Canadian Criminal Code also gives you the right to be tried by a jury for indictable offences, including those that may be punishable by less than 5 years of imprisonment.

You have the right to decide whether your case will be heard by a judge alone or a judge and a jury. However, trial by a jury of one’s peers is mandatory for such serious criminal offences like treason, murder, inciting to mutiny, piracy, sedition, and alarming Her Majesty.

There are cases that are best heard by a jury and others by a judge alone, depending on different factors.

When a Judge Trail Works

A judge trial is probably the better option if you are representing yourself. This is because, in front of a judge alone, you will not have to worry about such things as:

  • Making opening statements, which often set the mood for the rest of the trial and which experienced lawyers are likely to outshine you
  • Going through the tedious and complicated jury selection process
  • Submitting jury instructions
  • Depositing jury fees

With no jury present, your arguments will not need to follow strict procedural rules. A judge is also more likely to ignore the strict rules of evidence when there is no jury involved.

With a jury, there is a risk that they will hear evidence that was not supposed to be presented. Even if you object to such evidence and the object is allowed and the judge gives instructions for the evidence to be ignored, jurors are humans and such evidence may have an impact on the outcome of the case.

If you are involved in an overly emotional case, jurors are more likely to be blinded by raw emotions than an experienced judge.

When a Jury Trial Works

If you are short on evidence or you are not completely innocent, a jury may work best for you if you are successful in presenting your case in a sympathetic light. This is because a jury is more likely to be swayed by sympathy and other emotions, sometimes completely ignoring hard evidence. The standard of proof is often much lower with jury trials.

With a jury, you only need to convince several of the jurors and you win. With a judge, you have to convince a single person who has a greater understanding of the law. Juries are, therefore, the better option in cases that have high stakes such as life in prison.

At Costa Law Firm, we have vast experience and expertise in criminal defense litigation. This means we are able to advise you on what best works for you.

No matter which option you go for, we have a team ready to dive deep for you. We will be involved in the entire process, including jury selection, challenges for cause, judicial pre-trials, Charter challenges, getting and preparing expert witnesses, and preliminary inquiries.

Reach us on 416-535-6329 for a free 20 minutes’ consultation.

Evelyn Burnette
Evelyn Burnette
06:08 12 Mar 18
We have a family business and one day we found ourselves in a legal situation in which we felt completely overwhelmed and helpless. We quickly realized there’s a whole different world out there that we know nothing about. Reached out to David and he quickly wrapped himself around our case. We know he was working around the clock. In a matter of days, we had a solid argument. He is sharp, candid and a true professional. Not sure how an attorney can help a client ANY better. Absolutely no hesitation recommending him.
Julia Austerlitz
Julia Austerlitz
00:15 10 Mar 18
When I was looking for a divorce lawyer, the most important thing to me was finding someone who would be easy to communicate with. I was anticipating a nasty custody battle and the last thing I wanted was a lawyer who was hard to get a hold of or who didn’t make me feel like my case was a priority. David Costa and Robin Mann were exactly what I was looking for. They responded quickly to all of my emails, took all of my concerns very seriously and above all, is very knowledgeable about family law. This was such a difficult phase of my life and they helped me to get through to the end of it with the best possible outcome. I highly recommend this law firm.
Ben Valencia
Ben Valencia
12:47 09 Mar 18
Mr. Costa and his wonderful assistant couldn't have been anymore professional. It's unfortunate I had to meet them under these circumstances but I wouldn't have chosen anyone different to represent me if I could. They’ve always kept me up to date on things I needed to get done and both were available when I had questions. They are first class in my book.
Daniel Hardison
Daniel Hardison
06:56 09 Mar 18
Have utilized David's services several times over the last five years. He always is quick to respond (even when he was on vacation), knows the real estate business inside out. His expertise always gives me the confidence the deal is done right.
Kate Miller
Kate Miller
20:08 13 Dec 17
Costa Law were a tremendous help in solving my legal issues. David and his team were professional, efficient, thorough and compassionate. Everyone involved capably assisted me in understanding the issues and the possible outcomes. I could not be happier with the results and would encourage anyone needing legal help to contact them. Best law group in the town. Thanks to everyone at Costa Law!!!
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