The Roles of the Main Players in A Canadian Criminal Law Case

Essay by dana_kistemakerUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, February 2004

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The role of a judge is to preside over trials in our courts of law while exercising the virtues of integrity, impartiality and independence. It is the duty of a judge to uphold the rule of law to ensure equal treatment of everyone in pursuit of justice. A judge must also uphold the principles of the Canadian Constitution to protect the rights of individual citizens, as well as to guarantee that Canadian legislation does not exceed its boundaries. Judges must exercise their roles at three stages throughout the judicial process; the pre-trial, trial, and during sentencing. During the judicial pre-trial, it is the role of the judge to discuss matters of disclosure with both the prosecutor and defense council, to hear evidence in order to ensure there is sufficient evidence for a trial, and (if necessary) to discuss possible sentences for a guilty plea. During the trial, the role of the judge is to rule on the admissibility of evidence, objections made by council and charter motions while simultaneously receiving the facts of the case.

A judge must then summarize the facts of the case, apply the facts to the law and charge the jury, or make a ruling on the case. During sentencing, a judge must consider the facts of the case, the principle of justice, and the aggravating and mitigating factors of the case and then determine an appropriate sentence for the offender.

The role of judges is seen in the case of R. Vs. Belance, a sentencing hearing in the Superior Court of Ontario. Mr. Belance has been convicted of second degree murder and his defence council, Gary Barnes is proposing the minimum punishment of life in prison with eligibility of parole after 10 years. On the other hand the crown prosecutor, Mark Holmes, is asking...