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ELECTION & PLEA

In Canada, under the Criminal Code, offenses are divided into two categories.  Summary conviction offenses are less serious, such as common assault.  Indictable offenses, such as murder, are more serious.


In many cases, the offenses are designated so that the prosecution has the option of proceeding summarily or by indictment.  That choice must be made by the prosecution before the accused person enters a plea to the charge


If an offence is summary conviction, the trial must be held in the Provincial Court.


If the offense is indictable the accused person has an election (choice).  The election or choice available is whether to have the trial in the Provincial Court, in the Supreme Court with a judge alone, or in the Supreme Court with a judge and jury.


If the election is to have a trial in the Provincial Court, no preliminary inquiry can be requested


However, if the election is to have a trial in the Supreme Court, then the accused may request a preliminary inquiry.

Jim O'Neil, LL.B.

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