Criminal and Quasi-criminal Law

Criminal and Quasi-criminal Law  

 Three types of offences:

1-Pure summary conviction offences 

Offences punishable upon summary conviction only or “pure” summary conviction offences are, generally speaking, the least serious offences and attract the lowest penalties. The maximum penalty on summary conviction for forcible confinement is 18 months 

2-Pure indictable offences  

Indictable offences are the most serious offences, and they carry with them the most severe penalties upon conviction. The sections creating “pure” indictable offences are always accompanied by a specific penalty provision. In some cases (e.g., manslaughter), the maximum penalty is as high as life imprisonment.  Other maximum penalties following a conviction for an indictable offence include 14 years’ imprisonment and any other penalties according to the Criminal Code Canada. 

3-Hybrid offences  

The majority of offences in the Code are “Crown elect” offences, or “hybrid” offences. 

In these cases, the Crown has the choice as to whether to proceed summarily or by way of indictment. All hybrid offences are accompanied by a specific penalty provision that sets out the maximum penalty available should the Crown proceed by way of indictment. 

For some offences, a minimum penalty may also be specified.  

Examples of hybrid offences: 

 ▪  indecent acts; 

 ▪  cruelty to animals; 

 ▪  assault, possession of a weapon, or mischief regarding property 

 ▪  fraud, forgery, or making false statements.  

Until the Crown makes its election as to proceeding by way of summary conviction or by indictment, the offence is deemed to be indictable.   

Charge screening and disclosure after an accused person is charged with a criminal offence, the Crown will review the Crown brief to determine whether the appropriate charge has been laid. 

The Crown brief is prepared by the police and typically includes a synopsis of the offence, background information about the accused, witness statements, and police officers’ notes. If the Crown determines that there is a reasonable prospect of conviction on the charge(s) laid and that it is in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution, the Crown will complete a charge screening form and prepare disclosure for the defence. 

The charge screening form will usually list:

 ▪ the charges on which the Crown intends to proceed;  

 ▪ how the Crown elects to proceed, either summarily  or by indictment; and 

 ▪ whether the case is appropriate for direct accountability (diversion) or a peace bond.   

Unless otherwise provided by law, everyone who is convicted of an offence punishable on summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both.  

Have you been victimized of an offence and would like to take legal action? 

We help you to initiate a criminal process against the offenders. 

The swearing of an information sets the criminal process in motion. 

Anyone with reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed by a person can swear an information. 

This is done by attending, without notice before a justice of the peace and describing the alleged criminal conduct to the justice.