CONSOLIDATED STATUTES OF CANADA
PART XVIII PROCEDURE ON PRELIMINARY INQUIRY
Powers of Justice
Powers of justice
537. (1) A justice acting under this Part may
(a) adjourn an inquiry from time to time and change the place of hearing, where it appears to be desirable to do so by reason of the absence of a witness, the inability of a witness who is ill to attend at the place where the justice usually sits or for any other sufficient reason;
(b) remand the accused to custody for the purposes of the Identification of Criminals Act;
(c) except where the accused is authorized pursuant to Part XVI to be at large, remand the accused to custody in a prison by warrant in Form 19;
(d) resume an inquiry before the expiration of a period for which it has been adjourned with the consent of the prosecutor and the accused or his counsel;
(e) order in writing, in Form 30, that the accused be brought before him, or any other justice for the same territorial division, at any time before the expiration of the time for which the accused has been remanded;
(f) grant or refuse permission to the prosecutor or his counsel to address him in support of the charge, by way of opening or summing up or by way of reply on any evidence that is given on behalf of the accused;
(g) receive evidence on the part of the prosecutor or the accused, as the case may be, after hearing any evidence that has been given on behalf of either of them;
(h) order that no person other than the prosecutor, the accused and their counsel shall have access to or remain in the room in which the inquiry is held, where it appears to him that the ends of justice will be best served by so doing;
(i) regulate the course of the inquiry in any way that appears to him to be desirable and that is not inconsistent with this Act;
(j) where the prosecutor and the accused so agree, permit the accused to appear by counsel or by closed-circuit television or any other means that allow the court and the accused to engage in simultaneous visual and oral communication, for any part of the inquiry other than a part in which the evidence of a witness is taken; and
(k) for any part of the inquiry other than a part in which the evidence of a witness is taken, require an accused who is confined in prison to appear by closed-circuit television or any other means that allow the court and the accused to engage in simultaneous visual and oral communication, if the accused is given the opportunity to communicate privately with counsel, in a case in which the accused is represented by counsel.
Change of venue
(2) Where a justice changes the place of hearing under paragraph (1)(a) to a place in the same province, other than a place in a territorial division in which the justice has jurisdiction, any justice who has jurisdiction in the place to which the hearing is changed may continue the hearing.
(3) and (4) [Repealed, 1991, c. 43, s. 9]
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 537; 1991, c. 43, s. 9; 1994, c. 44, s. 53; 1997, c. 18, s. 64.
538. Where an accused is a corporation, subsections 556(1) and (2) apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 466.
Taking Evidence of Witnesses
Order restricting publication of evidence taken at preliminary inquiry
539. (1) Prior to the commencement of the taking of evidence at a preliminary inquiry, the justice holding the inquiry
(a) may, if application therefor is made by the prosecutor, and
(b) shall, if application therefor is made by any of the accused,
make an order directing that the evidence taken at the inquiry shall not be published in any newspaper or broadcast before such time as, in respect of each of the accused,
(c) he is discharged, or
(d) if he is ordered to stand trial, the trial is ended.
Accused to be informed of right to apply for order
(2) Where an accused is not represented by counsel at a preliminary inquiry, the justice holding the inquiry shall, prior to the commencement of the taking of evidence at the inquiry, inform the accused of his right to make application under subsection (1).
Failure to comply with order
(3) Every one who fails to comply with an order made pursuant to subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Definition of "newspaper"
(4) In this section, "newspaper" has the same meaning as in section 297.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 539; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 97.
540. (1) Where an accused is before a justice holding a preliminary inquiry, the justice shall
(a) take the evidence under oath, in the presence of the accused, of the witnesses called on the part of the prosecution and allow the accused or his counsel to cross-examine them; and
(b) cause a record of the evidence of each witness to be taken
(i) in legible writing in the form of a deposition, in Form 31, or by a stenographer appointed by him or pursuant to law, or
(ii) in a province where a sound recording apparatus is authorized by or under provincial legislation for use in civil cases, by the type of apparatus so authorized and in accordance with the requirements of the provincial legislation.
Reading and signing depositions
(2) Where a deposition is taken down in writing, the justice shall, in the presence of the accused, before asking the accused if he wishes to call witnesses,
(a) cause the deposition to be read to the witness;
(b) cause the deposition to be signed by the witness; and
(c) sign the deposition himself.
Authentication by justice
(3) Where depositions are taken down in writing, the justice may sign
(a) at the end of each deposition; or
(b) at the end of several or of all the depositions in a manner that will indicate that his signature is intended to authenticate each deposition.
Stenographer to be sworn
(4) Where the stenographer appointed to take down the evidence is not a duly sworn court stenographer, he shall make oath that he will truly and faithfully report the evidence.
Authentication of transcript
(5) Where the evidence is taken down by a stenographer appointed by the justice or pursuant to law, it need not be read to or signed by the witnesses, but, on request of the justice or of one of the parties, shall be transcribed, in whole or in part, by the stenographer and the transcript shall be accompanied by
(a) an affidavit of the stenographer that it is a true report of the evidence; or
(b) a certificate that it is a true report of the evidence if the stenographer is a duly sworn court stenographer.
Transcription of record taken by sound recording apparatus
(6) Where, in accordance with this Act, a record is taken in any proceedings under this Act by a sound recording apparatus, the record so taken shall, on request of the justice or of one of the parties, be dealt with and transcribed, in whole or in part, and the transcription certified and used in accordance with the provincial legislation, with such modifications as the circumstances require mentioned in subsection (1).
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 540; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 98; 1997, c. 18, s. 65.
Hearing of witnesses
541. (1) When the evidence of the witnesses called on the part of the prosecution has been taken down and, where required by this Part, has been read, the justice shall, subject to this section, hear the witnesses called by the accused.
Contents of address to accused
(2) Before hearing any witness called by an accused who is not represented by counsel, the justice shall address the accused as follows or to the like effect:
"Do you wish to say anything in answer to these charges or to any other charges which might have arisen from the evidence led by the prosecution? You are not obliged to say anything, but whatever you do say may be given in evidence against you at your trial. You should not make any confession or admission of guilt because of any promise or threat made to you but if you do make any statement it may be given in evidence against you at your trial in spite of the promise or threat."
Statement of accused
(3) Where the accused who is not represented by counsel says anything in answer to the address made by the justice pursuant to subsection (2), the answer shall be taken down in writing and shall be signed by the justice and kept with the evidence of the witnesses and dealt with in accordance with this Part.
Witnesses for accused
(4) Where an accused is not represented by counsel, the justice shall ask the accused if he or she wishes to call any witnesses after subsections (2) and (3) have been complied with.
Depositions of such witnesses
(5) The justice shall hear each witness called by the accused who testifies to any matter relevant to the inquiry, and for the purposes of this subsection, section 540 applies with such modifications as the circumstances require.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 541; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 99; 1994, c. 44, s. 54.
Confession or admission of accused
542. (1) Nothing in this Act prevents a prosecutor giving in evidence at a preliminary inquiry any admission, confession or statement made at any time by the accused that by law is admissible against him.
Restriction of publication of reports of preliminary inquiry
(2) Every one who publishes in any newspaper, or broadcasts, a report that any admission or confession was tendered in evidence at a preliminary inquiry or a report of the nature of such admission or confession so tendered in evidence unless
(a) the accused has been discharged, or
(b) if the accused has been ordered to stand trial, the trial has ended,
is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Definition of "newspaper"
(3) In this section, "newspaper" has the same meaning as in section 297.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 542; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 101(E).
Remand Where Offence Committed in Another Jurisdiction
Order that accused appear or be taken before justice where offence committed
543. (1) Where an accused is charged with an offence alleged to have been committed out of the limits of the jurisdiction in which he has been charged, the justice before whom he appears or is brought may, at any stage of the inquiry after hearing both parties,
(a) order the accused to appear, or
(b) if the accused is in custody, issue a warrant in Form 15 to convey the accused
before a justice having jurisdiction in the place where the offence is alleged to have been committed, who shall continue and complete the inquiry.
Transmission of transcript and documents and effect of order or warrant
(2) Where a justice makes an order or issues a warrant pursuant to subsection (1), he shall cause the transcript of any evidence given before him in the inquiry and all documents that were then before him and that are relevant to the inquiry to be transmitted to a justice having jurisdiction in the place where the offence is alleged to have been committed and
(a) any evidence the transcript of which is so transmitted shall be deemed to have been taken by the justice to whom it is transmitted; and
(b) any appearance notice, promise to appear, undertaking or recognizance issued to or given or entered into by the accused under Part XVI shall be deemed to have been issued, given or entered into in the jurisdiction where the offence is alleged to have been committed and to require the accused to appear before the justice to whom the transcript and documents are transmitted at the time provided in the order made in respect of the accused under paragraph (1)(a).
R.S., c. C-34, s. 471; R.S., c. 2(2nd Supp.), s. 7.
Accused absconding during inquiry
544. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, where an accused, whether or not he is charged jointly with another, absconds during the course of a preliminary inquiry into an offence with which he is charged,
(a) he shall be deemed to have waived his right to be present at the inquiry, and
(b) the justice
(i) may continue the inquiry and, when all the evidence has been taken, shall dispose of the inquiry in accordance with section 548, or
(ii) if a warrant is issued for the arrest of the accused, may adjourn the inquiry to await his appearance,
but where the inquiry is adjourned pursuant to subparagraph (b)(ii), the justice may continue it at any time pursuant to subparagraph (b)(i) if he is satisfied that it would no longer be in the interests of justice to await the appearance of the accused.
(2) Where the justice continues a preliminary inquiry pursuant to subsection (1), he may draw an inference adverse to the accused from the fact that he has absconded.
Accused not entitled to re-opening
(3) Where an accused reappears at a preliminary inquiry that is continuing pursuant to subsection (1), he is not entitled to have any part of the proceedings that was conducted in his absence re-opened unless the justice is satisfied that because of exceptional circumstances it is in the interests of justice to re-open the inquiry.
Counsel for accused may continue to act
(4) Where an accused has absconded during the course of a preliminary inquiry and the justice continues the inquiry, counsel for the accused is not thereby deprived of any authority he may have to continue to act for the accused in the proceedings.
Accused calling witnesses
(5) Where, at the conclusion of the evidence on the part of the prosecution at a preliminary inquiry that has been continued pursuant to subsection (1), the accused is absent but counsel for the accused is present, he or she shall be given an opportunity to call witnesses on behalf of the accused and subsection 541(5) applies with such modifications as the circumstances require.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 544; 1994, c. 44, s. 55.
Procedure where Witness Refuses to Testify
Witness refusing to be examined
545. (1) Where a person, being present at a preliminary inquiry and being required by the justice to give evidence,
(a) refuses to be sworn,
(b) having been sworn, refuses to answer the questions that are put to him,
(c) fails to produce any writings that he is required to produce, or
(d) refuses to sign his deposition,
without offering a reasonable excuse for his failure or refusal, the justice may adjourn the inquiry and may, by warrant in Form 20, commit the person to prison for a period not exceeding eight clear days or for the period during which the inquiry is adjourned, whichever is the lesser period.
(2) Where a person to whom subsection (1) applies is brought before the justice on the resumption of the adjourned inquiry and again refuses to do what is required of him, the justice may again adjourn the inquiry for a period not exceeding eight clear days and commit him to prison for the period of adjournment or any part thereof, and may adjourn the inquiry and commit the person to prison from time to time until the person consents to do what is required of him.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent the justice from sending the case for trial on any other sufficient evidence taken by him.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 472.
Irregularity or variance not to affect validity
546. The validity of any proceeding at or subsequent to a preliminary inquiry is not affected by
(a) any irregularity or defect in the substance or form of the summons or warrant;
(b) any variance between the charge set out in the summons or warrant and the charge set out in the information; or
(c) any variance between the charge set out in the summons, warrant or information and the evidence adduced by the prosecution at the inquiry.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 473.
Adjournment if accused misled
547. Where it appears to the justice that the accused has been deceived or misled by any irregularity, defect or variance mentioned in section 546, he may adjourn the inquiry and may remand the accused or grant him interim release in accordance with Part XVI.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 474; 1974-75-76, c. 93, s. 59.1.
Inability of justice to continue
547.1 Where a justice acting under this Part has commenced to take evidence and dies or is unable to continue for any reason, another justice may
(a) continue taking the evidence at the point at which the interruption in the taking of the evidence occurred, where the evidence was recorded pursuant to section 540 and is available; or
(b) commence taking the evidence as if no evidence had been taken, where no evidence was recorded pursuant to section 540 or where the evidence is not available.
R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 100.
Adjudication and Recognizances
Order to stand trial or discharge
548. (1) When all the evidence has been taken by the justice, he shall
(a) if in his opinion there is sufficient evidence to put the accused on trial for the offence charged or any other indictable offence in respect of the same transaction, order the accused to stand trial; or
(b) discharge the accused, if in his opinion on the whole of the evidence no sufficient case is made out to put the accused on trial for the offence charged or any other indictable offence in respect of the same transaction.
(2) Where the justice orders the accused to stand trial for an indictable offence, other than or in addition to the one with which the accused was charged, the justice shall endorse on the information the charges on which he orders the accused to stand trial.
Where accused ordered to stand trial
(2.1) A justice who orders that an accused is to stand trial has the power to fix the date for the trial or the date on which the accused must appear in the trial court to have that date fixed.
Defect not to affect validity
(3) The validity of an order to stand trial is not affected by any defect apparent on the face of the information in respect of which the preliminary inquiry is held or in respect of any charge on which the accused is ordered to stand trial unless, in the opinion of the court before which an objection to the information or charge is taken, the accused has been misled or prejudiced in his defence by reason of that defect.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 548; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 101; 1994, c. 44, s. 56.
Order to stand trial at any stage of inquiry with consent
549. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the justice may, at any stage of a preliminary inquiry, with the consent of the accused and the prosecutor, order the accused to stand trial in the court having criminal jurisdiction, without taking or recording any evidence or further evidence.
(2) Where an accused is ordered to stand trial under subsection (1), the justice shall endorse on the information a statement of the consent of the accused and the prosecutor, and the accused shall thereafter be dealt with in all respects as if ordered to stand trial under section 548.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 549; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 101.
Recognizance of witness
550. (1) Where an accused is ordered to stand trial, the justice who held the preliminary inquiry may require any witness whose evidence is, in his opinion, material to enter into a recognizance to give evidence at the trial of the accused and to comply with such reasonable conditions prescribed in the recognizance as the justice considers desirable for securing the attendance of the witness to give evidence at the trial of the accused.
(2) A recognizance entered into pursuant to this section may be in Form 32, and may be set out at the end of a deposition or be separate therefrom.
Sureties or deposit for appearance of witness
(3) A justice may, for any reason satisfactory to him, require any witness entering into a recognizance pursuant to this section
(a) to produce one or more sureties in such amount as he may direct; or
(b) to deposit with him a sum of money sufficient in his opinion to ensure that the witness will appear and give evidence.
CONSOLIDATED STATUTES OF CANADA