What is disclosure?
Everyone accused of a crime in Canada has a right to know the case against them, and they gain that knowledge by reviewing disclosure. Disclosure will usually take the form of paper documents, audio recordings, and videos that outline the case against an accused person. These materials may include the notes of police officers, statements taken from witnesses, video footage, photographs, and computer data, among other things.
The disclosure will be kept safe at Weisberg Law Professional Corporation’s secure office in Toronto. The client may access their disclosure whenever they feel it is necessary at our office. In many cases, the defence lawyer cannot give the client unfettered access to the disclosure or a copy of the disclosure because of undertakings or promises made to the Crown upon receiving the disclosure.
The Crown Attorney or Prosecutor will provide some disclosure at the first appearance in court after an accused is released from the police station or following a bail hearing. The first batch of disclosure is referred to as “initial disclosure.” Once this is provided, a lawyer should diligently seek whatever disclosure may be missing from the initial disclosure. This will normally involve a detailed review of the documentation provided, followed up by writing letters to the Crown Attorney requesting the missing disclosure or anything else that might otherwise be helpful to the defence.
The Crown Attorney has an obligation to provide all relevant disclosure promptly. When a criminal matter is unreasonably delayed by the Crown Attorney, an accused person might be able to rely on a constitutional remedy. If such a remedy is to be available to an accused, however, it can be very important how the case is handled right from the beginning. Again, it is always advantageous to hire a criminal lawyer as early in the process as possible.
A competent lawyer will manage your case correctly from early on in the proceedings so that your right to a trial without unreasonable delay is protected.
If you have already obtained your disclosure on your own, you should meet with a criminal lawyer as soon as possible so that he or she can review it and provide you with legal advice.