The Trial

What a typical Ontario Court of Justice looks like.

What happens when I show up for Trial, what is the normal process that occurs?

If your case (your charge(s)) are scheduled for trial and you are a little intimidated by the process, you may want to just show up on a day your case is not scheduled to be heard and just listen to the others that are being heard.  It is a good experience for those who are going to trial, who have never sat through a trial, to sit through someone else’s trial and just watch and listen to the process.  It may provide you with a little experience and make it easier on you when you go to your own.

When you go to the Court make sure you bring any documentation that you wish to rely upon and of course your witnesses, if you have any.  Make sure the documentation is relevant and timely.

You will have a “Notice of Trial” which will provide you with the date, the time, the address of court and the floor or the room which the proceeding (the trial) will take place at. Bring all of the documents which you have accumulated up to this date.  Try to show up early, as it is in your best interest.

On the outside of the court room there is normally a bulletin board or an area where the court docket is normally taped, tacked or stapled.

Review the sheet, it will contain the date, the number of the court room, your name, the allegation (the charge(s)) and the date on which you were charged.  If your name is not on the sheet, as it should be, go to the clerk at the prosecutor’s office or the main desk and make them aware that you have appeared for your trial and show them your “Notice of Trial” and ask them where your trial is scheduled at.  Proceed to the court room at which your trial is to occur.

When you show up for trial, dress appropriately.  Your attire reflects your attitude towards the proceeding.
When you dress appropriately, you show respect for the Court, the proceeding and the Justice of the Peace who will look at you when you approach the front of the room, and may, based on your attire, form a good impression of you.

Do not wear a hat, sunglasses, an MP3 player.  If you bring a cell phone, make sure it is on vibrate or turn it off.  If you bring any electronic gadget, do not play with it during the proceedings and make sure it does not emit any sounds or noise.

You cannot tape or make an audio recording during the hearing, if you do, you can be charged and sentenced to jail time.

Don’t start eating food, it isn’t a cafeteria or a theatre (all though some would disagree with this characterization) and don’t bring in a drink and start drinking and never be caught chewing gum or speaking during the proceedings.

If your name is on the list, then you will have to wait until that court room convenes its business and opens up for all that are scheduled to have their matters heard at that court room.  It normally opens up prior to the scheduled time to allow the Prosecutor to discuss the different cases with those who present themselves.

The Prosecutor will sit at the front, normally separated by a partition.  When the court room opens, those who have matters on the court docket, or their representatives (agents, paralegals, lawyers) will line-up to check-in with the Prosecutor.  This provides the defendant (you) with the opportunity to inform the Prosecutor that you are present and to discuss your case,

Sometimes the Prosecutor will inform you that the investigating officer (the police officer or Municipal Licensing Enforcement Officer or Green Hornet) is not present and that the charge(s) will be withdrawn.  If this happens, agree and simply sit down to wait for your name to be called.  When your name is called, stand up and proceed to the front and the Prosecutor will explain to the Justice of the Peace that the officer is not present to provide evidence with respect to your charge and as a result, he will withdraw the charge(s) and the Justice of the Peace will agree.  If the officer that generated the ticket is not present, the Prosecutor cannot prove its case.

Plea Bargaining:

Due to a high number of motorist’s fighting their tickets and opting for trials, a lot of courtrooms, especially in the larger cities, have too many matters to deal with in a single day.  A courtroom with fifty (50) people, who are all scheduled to proceed with a trial on the same date, same courtroom, same time, will not have all of their trials heard, there isn’t enough time.  The Prosecutor, having to manage the caseload in a responsible and efficient manner, must make some decisions to deal with a crowded courtroom/caseload.  One of the options available is to “plea bargain”.  Usually motorist’s who have a trial scheduled, show up to the courtroom shortly before the time of the trial and join a line-up of people waiting to see the Prosecutor.  The Prosecutor uses the same list, which is posted outside of that particular courtroom which has the name of the defendant’s and a number assigned to their case. When you finally reach the Prosecutor, the prosecutor will ask you what you want to do.  You should say you want to fight your case.  If the Prosecutor’s time in the courtroom is limited and he/she knows that all of the trials scheduled cannot be tried or if the Prosecutor is aware of problems in his/her ability to prove their case against you, you may be offered a reduced ticket (meaning a lesser charge, less fine or reduction of a speed in a speeding ticket which means zero demerit points).

This means he/she will amend the original charge, to a lesser charge and will suggest to you that it is a good deal and will have less points and a fine attached to it.  You may want to say “let me think about it and talk to someone else before I agree”.  This will provide you with some time to think about it and to allow you to walk around the room and to look at the police officers (who will all be in their uniform).  If you can’t recall how the officer looked who charged you (of if you never saw them and you received your ticket(s) in your absence) look at your ticket and Notice of Trial and look for the officer’s number.  Normally this number will appear on their uniform (lapel, front chest pocket, tie, hat, shoulder).  Look at all the numbers and then go out into the hallway and do the same.  If you cannot see the police officer (or whoever gave you the ticket) present, it is possible the Prosecutor is aware that the officer cannot appear and therefore they would have no case to present and would be forced to withdraw the charge(s).  In this case, sit down in the court room and wait until your name is called, if during this wait, the Police officer comes into the court room you may want to accept the “plea bargain” that the Prosecutor offered you.  Think carefully about any plea bargain, sometimes they are reasonable and sometimes they are not.

If the Prosecutor suggests some kind of an unreasonable plea bargain or deal and you decline the offer, then the matter will proceed to a Trial. Don’t go out of your way to aggravate, antagonize or provoke the Prosecutor, this is not an effective strategy and will more likely than not, provide the Prosecutor with the motivation to screw you around and make the proceeding a lot less comfortable for you, in your attempt to challenge and win your ticket ( ie- he will call your case last, even though the police officer is not in the court and has no intention of coming to the court to testify).

At the beginning of the hearing, the clerk will normally announce that the Honourable ? is presiding, as the Justice of the Peace (hereinafter the “J.P.”) enters the court room and the clerk asks everyone in the court room to rise or stand.  Everyone stands, the J.P. goes to their seat, which is at the front of the room, in the middle, elevated at the highest level, and as the J.P. sits in their chair, the clerk announces that everyone can be seated and goes on the intercom system and invites all those with business in courtroom ? to come into the courtroom.

Once the courtroom is in session (the Justice of the Peace) there is no talking.  Many of our courtrooms are now equipped with powerful microphones, which are extremely sensitive and pick up all sound in the courtroom.  This is just one of the reasons that people who attend a courtroom are dissuaded from talking in the courtroom.

Ontario’s Court Rooms to have the Proceedings Recorded Digitally:

Even the Ministry of the Attorney General is doing their best to upgrade their technology.  According to the Auditor General’s 2008 Annual Report- see Chapter 3-VFM Section 3.07,  page 219, the following is taking place in Ontario’s Court rooms, and will continue into 2013:

Digital Audio Recording:

Transcripts of court proceedings have traditionally been prepared manually by court reporters attending court, and audio recordings made with low-quality analogue recording devices. In recent years, the development of digital audio equipment allows for the efficient and high-quality recording of court dialogue, thus reducing court reporter
costs. Alberta and British Columbia converted their courts to digital audio systems in 2001/02 and 2006/07, respectively. In Ontario, owing to technical and quality issues, the Ministry discontinued in 2004/05 a pilot project inherited from the former IJP that cost over $17 million. In June 2007, the Ministry entered into a new
vendor agreement to test digital recording devices at six court locations. In July 2007, the Ministry conducted an evaluation of the pilot project and decided to retain the same vendor to introduce the digital recording devices in Ontario courts incrementally. As of March 2008, a total of 16 courthouses had successfully converted their
recording systems from analogue to digital at a cost of $750,000. The Ministry informed us that the conversion of the remaining 146 courthouses will be completed in the next two to three years. However, at the time of our audit, the Ministry had not established a formal plan specifying the scope and operational targets of the implementation, including cost projections, management approval, and plans to address computer compatibility and other
technical issues.    Auditor General of Ontario – Jim McCarter CA

What happens next?

The Crown/Prosecutor dispenses with the cases where an adjournment has been requested and granted by the Prosecutor or where the cases are being withdrawn or the cases in which the defendant (through themselves or their agents) pleads guilty or pleads to a lesser charge (plea bargain).  The cases that are dealt with last are the cases in which a “not guilty plea” has been indicated or where the defendant (or his/her agent) wants to bring a motion before the J.P. Those who co-operate (plead “guilty”) with the Prosecutor, are rewarded with an early departure.

If the Prosecutor offers to amend a “speeding ticket” from 80 km in a 60 km zone to 75 km in a 60 km zone (reducing the ticket to 15 km over, versus 20 means that there will be no demerit points gained on your license (15 km over does not attract demerit points, but 20 km’s over does) and you accept this plea bargain, it is offered by the Prosecutor on the condition that you will plead guilty once your name is called.

The Prosecutor will then call your name and let the Justice of the Peace know the number on the list before him/her.  The Prosecutor will inform the Justice of the Peace that he/she has spoken to you and that the Prosecutor is prepared to amend the speed on the original ticket from 80 km’s to 75 km’s in a posted 60 km per hour zone.  You will be asked to come up to the front and you will be asked your name, for the record.  You will state your name.

At this point the Court Clerk will stand and say your name and read out the charge “on a certain date and time in a certain city, on a certain street, you are charged with an amended speed of 75 km’s in a 60 km zone, contrary to section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act, how do you plead to the charge?  You would say “guilty”.

The Justice of the Peace will ask you, upon hearing your plea, “Do you understand that by pleading guilty, you give up your right to a trial?  You will say “yes”.

The Justice of the Peace, will ask you, upon hearing your answer to his/her question, “Are you entering this plea of your own free will”?  When you say “yes”.

The Justice of the Peace will say, a conviction will be entered, a fine will be $ how much time do you need to pay?  You will provide your answer which is whatever amount of time you need to pay the due fine.  You can even pay in installments.

The Crown/Prosecutor is under no obligation to call the cases as they are laid out on the court room docket.  He/she will pick and choose and this practice is at their discretion.

When your name is called, you will have to go the front of the court, to the left side of the Prosecutor, if the Prosecutor is sitting to the right.

The Clerk of the Court will say, (your name), you were charged on the (day), (month), (year) at (the time) at (the location or address), did commit the offence of (will state alleged offence), contrary to the Highway Traffic Act, Section ?, Sub ?

How do you plead to this charge, sir/madam, guilty or not guilty?
You will state “Not Guilty”

If you want to speak to the Justice of the Peace, you must say “Your Worship” when speaking to him/her.  If the person presiding over the courtroom is a Judge, when speaking to the Judge you must say “Your Honour”.  In both instances you are simply expressing your understanding of court etiquette and showing respect for the person who will make the final decision in the matter.

It is important to keep in mind, during this entire process, that you are not a member of the legal profession.  You are a “Lay person” meaning that you are not a member of the legal profession.  The reason that this is important, is that the Justice of the Peace who is hearing the matter, will not expect you to conduct yourself like a lawyer, because you are not a lawyer and you are merely a lay person.  Courts tend to be less harsh on lay people, given their lack of understanding and knowledge of the court room.  If the Prosecutor or Justice of the Peace begins to criticize or critique your style of presentation, remind them that you are a “lay person” and as such, do not have the wealth of experience in these matters as they may have.

It is at this stage that the Prosecutor must present their witness(es).  If the Prosecutor has more than one witness, it is prudent to request an “exclusion order” for the Justice of the Peace presiding.  An “exclusion order” is simply an “order” from the Justice of the Peace to the witnesses who have not yet taken the witness stand, to leave the room so they won’t hear the testimony (evidence) of the other witnesses in the same matter.  These witnesses who are excluded, will leave the room and will be summoned when it is their turn to provide evidence under oath.

This is what you would say. “Your Worship, I notice that the Prosecutor has more than one witness, under the circumstances I am requesting an “exclusion order” given that there is a possibility that the witness testifying could influence or taint the evidence of the witnesses following them and there may be a possibility that one may tailor their evidence to that of another witness and it is for these reasons, Your Worship, that I am requesting that you order that the other Prosecutor’s witnesses, be excluded from the hearing room, until they are called upon to present their own evidence”

More times than not, the Justice will agree with you, given that there is potential that one witnesses testimony may taint another person’s testimony, given that they were influenced, even on a sub-conscious level.

If there are no witnesses, other than the officer who generated a ticket and presented it to you or your motor vehicle, then the only witness the Prosecutor would have, would be the officer and it would not be necessary to request that the Justice of the Peace provide you with an exclusion order, given that the only witness the Prosecutor would have would be the officer.

The Prosecutor will call the officer and the officer will be sworn in by the Justice of the Peace. (The officer will agree that he/she will tell the truth, the whole truth, so help them god).

This is the Part of the Trial referred to as “Examination-in-Chief”:

The first thing that the Prosecutor will attempt to do is to introduce the officer’s notes (you should have already received them well in advance of the Trial – see the section in this site called “Disclosure”).

The Prosecutor will ask these types of questions: (Q=Question and A=Answer)

Q– Mr. ? you’re a member of the Ontario Provincial Police force and I believe you were on duty on (day,month,year) at 07:40 hours is that correct?
A– That’s correct.

Q– Would you tell the Court sir if, because of an incident that you investigated on that date at 07:40 hours, 7:40 in the morning, you made some notes with respect to that same incident.
A– I did.

Q– Do you have an independent recollection of this incident?
A– I do.

Q– Were those notes made from contemporaneous with the incident itself?
A– They were.

Q– Did you make any changes, additions, deletions, or anything to those notes since you made them?
A– None.

Q– Do you need those notes to refresh your memory only on this particular incident?
A– As a refresher, yes.

At this point the Justice of the Peace will turn to you and ask you if you have any objections with the officer referring to his notes to refresh his memory- if you say no, then the Justice will turn to the officer and tell him that he can refer to his notes.

This stage of the trial could have taken a different turn.

Police Officer’s notes should be qualified in a Voir Dire before the officer begins to give his evidence, based on his notes.  A “Voir Dire” (French meaning “to speak the truth” – this means a preliminary examination to test the competence of a witness or evidence or a “trial within a trial” ).

If no Voir Dire is conducted, with respect to the officer’s notes and if the Justice of the Peace does not give the officer permission to use his notes, you must object.  This is done to go on record.  If the police officer’s notes are not properly qualified in a Voir Dire or if the Justice of the Peace did not grant his/her permission to the officer to use his/her notes than you can make a motion for non-suit, by saying “Your Worship, before entering a defence, I’d motion for a non-suit, in that I made a timely objection” You should tell the Worship that your making this motion because the officer must receive permission from the Worship before  the officer relies on his notes to refresh his memory; this is what the prior court decisions demand, as part of the process.

If this doesn’t happen, then the Prosecutor will ask a series of questions and the officer will rely upon his/her notes to refresh his/her memory while he/she provides evidence.  Take a lot of notes while this is taking place, as you have the opportunity to cross-examine the officer upon the completion of the Prosecutor’s examination-in-chief of the police officer.

When the Prosecutor is finished asking the officer questions, he/she will say that’s all or no further question or Case, Your Worship, or that concludes our case.  This means that it is your turn to ask the police officer questions.

Cross-Examination of the Police Officer;

Hopefully, prior to the trial you had an opportunity (after requesting and receiving disclosure from the Prosecutor) to review the officer’s notes and had some previously written questions arising from those notes or arising from the officer’s interpretation of the events as they unfolded on the day in question, as written in his/her notes. It is best to develop a theory around your case and figure out what is important and what is not and then prepare for your main arguments, prior to coming to the court on your scheduled date of trial.  Put your thoughts, your theory in writing on paper and you can begin to develop your questions, based on your personal knowledge of the case and what the officer had to say in his/her notes.

You can reasonably anticipate what the officer is going to say, based on the disclosure you received.  It is unusual for an officer to deviate from what he/she has written, especially when, in more instances than not, the officer’s memory is confined to the notes that he or she took at the time the incident occurred. Write down you questions in advance of the trial date and bring a pad of paper and a pen with you to the proceeding.  As you ask each question, write down the officer’s response, as you will need this information to make cogent points in your final argument or your submissions at the end of the trial.

In addition to this, as the officer gave evidence (testimony) in examination-in-chief in relation to questions put to him from the Prosecutor/Justice of the Peace, hopefully you took notes to ask the officer some questions.

Remember be fair and don’t try to come across as a Clayton Ruby or an Eddy Greenspan, you’re not and you know it, but more importantly, the Justice of the Peace and the Prosecutor knows it.  Try to be logical and avoid being overly cute, this will not constitute an endearing quality to the Justice of the Peace.  If you feel the officer is misleading the court or is lying, you cannot call him/her a liar unless you can prove this.  You are not allowed to suggest that the police officer is testilying unless you can establish this with evidence, with facts. Attacking a police officer on the witness stand is not a good idea and may attract the wrath of the Justice of the Peace.  You can certainly attack the evidence, as it was presented, but it is not a good idea to make this a personal thing, and attack the officer, especially if all you have are unsubstantiated allegations.

You are allowed to put questions to the officer which are “leading questions”.  Leading questions are questions that suggest a certain answer or are designed to elicit a specific response.  In most cases when you ask a question that is answered with a “yes”, a “no” or “true” it is a leading question.  Leading questions are not allowed in “examination-in-chief” (there are exceptions and often court’s give some latitude when the question or answer is not controversial – ie “I understand you are an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police, is that true”?”) but are allowed in cross-examination and should be used as often as is necessary.

Re-examination:

Once you have asked any questions you have of the Prosecutor’s witnesses, through cross-examination, the Prosecutor has the right to conduct, re-examination.  This means that if you have asked his/her witness, any new questions in cross-examination, which were not asked by the Prosecutor in examination-in-chief, then the Prosecutor has the opportunity to ask his witness questions, which are meant to clarify the witnesses answers.  The Prosecutor can not ask new questions which are not related to your cross-examination or which the Prosecutor already asked in examination-in-chief.

Example – if the Prosecutor spent time in examination-in-chief, asking the officer what the colour of the traffic light was while your vehicle was travelling through the intersection (and you received a ticket for running a red light) and you did not ask the officer about the colour of the light.  The Prosecutor cannot go back to that line of questioning again, as he/she already had the opportunity during examination-in-chief to ask the officer questions about the colour of the traffic light and in fact had and at not time did you ask about this in your cross-examination.  If during cross-examination you had asked a question which had not been previously canvassed or explored in the Prosecutor’s examination-in-chief, then it would be proper for the Prosecutor to ask the officer questions related to your question, in re-examination.

This also applies to your witnesses.  If a witness takes the stand on your behalf and you ask your witnesses questions in examination-in-chief, then the Prosecutor has the right to cross-examine your witness.  Upon finishing his/her cross-examination the Justice of the Peace may ask you “do you have any questions of this witness arising out of the Prosecutor’s cross-examination?”  If you want to clarify something which your witness tried to say and the Prosecutor would not let your witness fully answer the question, then you have a right to say “the Prosecutor asked you ? and you answered ?, did you want to expand on your answer”?  Or, “you were asked if you had a clear view of the traffic light and you said “yes”, but the Prosecutor did not follow-up with the question “did you see the colour of the traffic light, and if so, what was the colour?”

Time to put in your case:

Once you have cross-examined the police officer or other witness offered by the Prosecutor, it is now your turn to provide the court with your version of the events.  Some people wait a long time to provide the court with their side of the story and to describe, in great detail what had occurred.  By this stage, there can be a lot of frustration, especially if the individual who provided you with a ticket, provides, through his/her testimony, a totally different recollection of the events leading to the issuance of the ticket, than you recall.  This is your opportunity to set the record straight and to communicate the version of the events, according to your recollection.  Or you may have a witness, who you can place on the stand and whom you can ask questions to in examination-in-chief.

If you go on the stand, it is probably a good idea if you write down the questions that you want asked of yourself and to allow another person (a co-worker/friend) to ask you these questions.  Once you have been asked the questions and have provided an answer, then the Prosecutor has the right to cross-examine you.

Rules you must apply to yourself, while being subjected to cross-examination:

  1. Listen to the question carefully, think about it and answer it.
  2. Never let the Prosecutor set the pace of the question and answer process.  Sometimes the Prosecutor, knowing your nervous and an inexperienced witness, will attempt to rush you into stating answers you may otherwise would not have answered, had you thought about it and answered at your own pace.  You set the pace, answer as slowly or as quickly as you need to.  You must set your own comfort level when you are on the stand answering questions.
  3. Never allow the Prosecutor to put “words in your mouth”.  Do not allow the Prosecutor to suggest that you said something or did something, unless you said it or did it.  Sometimes they will say “earlier you told the court that you  ???????  “ now unless you recall telling the court ??????? do not agree with the Prosecutor and you may want to say “I’m quite nervous, I have never been on the witness stand before, can you refresh my memory with regard to your comment”?  If the Prosecutor says, “when you were flying down the road in your car…” do not allow this comment  or characterization about a “flying car” go unaddressed.  If you answer the question, without commenting that you were driving in your car and not “flying” then the court may interpret this lack of objection as an acceptance of the term.  Even if the court can see through the Prosecutor’s play on words, words or expressions can have a subconscious effect on the Justice of the Peace.  Remember, words can be very powerful, especially in a courtroom proceeding.  Lawyer’s know this and that is why when their client has been in a collision with another car and their client’s car hit the vehicle of another driver, rather than use the word “hit” they will use the expression “my client’s car came “into contact” with the other driver’s vehicle”.
  4. Keep you answers as brief as possible.  If the question can be satisfied with a “yes” or “no” then use “yes” or “no”.  It is best to answer with only relevant information.  Every additional word or comment you state, may end up as ammunition in the Prosecutor’s bag of tricks.  If, however, you feel that specificity is important and that the details you want to provide may help win your case, then state it if you must.
  5. If you don’t understand the question then say that.  You can say “I don’t understand the question or can you please  repeat it?” or “can you please rephrase that question?” The Prosecutor or the Justice of the Peace may ask a question using a term or phrase or word that you are unfamiliar with.  It may be Latin or French or legalize that cannot be understood.  Tell the court “I’m not familiar with that term” or “I don’t understand that word”.  Never agree to something that you do not understand.  This will be used against you and could be prejudicial.
  6. Don’t answer “yes” when you mean “no”.  Often, individuals when faced with cross-examination get nervous, tongue-  tied and will try to appease the Prosecutor with the answers that the individual believes the Prosecutor wants to hear;   all in an effort to end the ordeal of being cross-examined.  This strategy is dangerous and will allow the Prosecutor to  manipulate you to provide answers that will hurt your chances of success.  If you are feeling anxious and are on the verge of an anxiety attack, take a deep breath, take a pause and regain your composure and answer at your own pace (your own speed). If the Prosecutor believes that you are “putty in their hands” they will treat you accordingly and the Justice of the Peace will not throw you a lifeline when you appear rattled or vulnerable.
  7. Answer one question at a time.  Individuals will sometimes attempt to anticipate a line of questioning.  They will try to cover off the next question, which they believe will be asked, before they fully answer the question being put to them.  This approach can lead to a number of problems.  To anticipate the next question, before it is even asked, means that your focus and concentration is not fully dedicated to the question before you.  It is quite possible and probable that you will end up providing more fodder for the Prosecutor’s cannon, if you inadvertently provide  him/her with information or an angle that they had not even considered.  Answer the question put to you and don’t attempt to be a mind reader with respect to the next question, which may or may not even be asked.
  8. Do not let the Prosecutor bully you or intimidate you by their actions, while cross-examining you.  It is inappropriate for the Prosecutor to yell or raise their voice in an effort to scare you or to intimidate you.  Not only is this behaviour unprofessional, but it is disrespectful and not keeping with the behaviour one would expect in the courts.  If the Prosecutor begins to exhibit this behaviour, it is your responsibility to take him/her down a notch.  When this abusive behaviour starts you can turn to the Justice of the Peace and ask them to instruct the Prosecutor to refrain from this unprofessional, inappropriate and abusive behaviour.  It is the function of the Justice of the Peace to run a smooth and efficient courtroom and to deal with any of the unpleasant aspects that may occur within a proceeding within his/her courtroom.  It is important to verbally state this in the courtroom as it goes on record and may provide the necessary foundation for the removal of the abusive Prosecutor (if there has been a pattern of this behaviour in other proceedings).  Normally the Justice of the Peace will caution the Prosecutor, which will cause the Prosecutor to refrain from this inappropriate, unprofessional and unacceptable conduct for the remainder of the proceeding.

Closing Arguments:

At this stage of the trial, all of the evidence that will be heard has been heard.  Your job at this point is to
concentrate on anything that said or entered as evidence which favours or strengthens your defence.  It isn’t
good enough that you know it, you must speak about it to the Justice of the Peace and emphasize anything
which helps you.

  1. You have heard the Prosecutor pose questions to his/her witnesses–this is called “examination-in-chief”. You asked the Prosecutor’s witnesses questions–this is called “cross-examination”.  The Prosecutor asked his witnesses additional questions after you had finished cross-examining the witness this is called “re-examination”.
  2. You presented your witness or yourself and evidence was provided to the court on your behalf.
  3. You took notes and highlighted comments or witness testimony which bolsters your case and helps with your defence.
  4. It is now time to make your final argument by summing up the case, the evidence and pointing out to the court anything that shines a favourable light on your case.  You point out to the Justice of the Peace all the aspects of the trial which you felt was in your favour and then you wait for the Justice of the Peace’s decision.
  5. Example “Your Worship, I ask that you weigh the evidence and the facts in this case and that you find in my favour and that you dismiss the charges, given that the onus is on the Prosecutor to prove their case and that  that onus has not been met in the case before you today.  Thank-you.

    The Prosecutor will do the same and attempt to put the best spin on his/her case and ask that the charge(s) be  upheld and that a conviction should be entered against you.

  6. Normally, the Justice of the Peace will provide his/her decision verbally, tying in all of the relevant aspects of case and weighing all the factors in your favour or against your interest, with the evidence provided by both sides of the dispute.  If he/she finds against you and you require time to pay the fine attached to the ticket, request as much time as you need to pay this. If the Justice of the Peace finds in your favour, know that you, by challenging the ticket(s), you successfully defended yourself and you should leave the courtroom and celebrate!
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