3.5 Defence

3.5 Defence

It is now time for you to provide your side of the story. You will be called up to the stand, where you will have the chance to raise any procedural defences that apply to your case. These can include things such as:

    • Limitation periods

    • Improper service

    • Dividing counts

    • Abuse of process

After this you will have to decide whether or not you wish to testify or argue.

Testifying: When you are testifying, you are giving your own recount of what happened. If you are representing yourself, then you will essentially be your own witness if you testify. It is highly recommended that you testify if you believe the prosecutor has touched upon all the elements of the offence you have been charged with. However, please note that you can and likely will be cross-examined by the prosecution after you testify. 

Example: I was not actually speeding at the time the officer stopped me.

Arguing: When you are arguing, you are attempting to persuade the court. You cannot be cross-examined on your arguments.

Example: The law states that a police officer must follow these following procedures for handling a radar gun. The police officer did not properly handle the radar gun in this case.

You can testify and argue during the course of your defence. However, be careful when testifying! You may end up saying something that may work against you.

How to testify

Testifying is useful when you have a reasonable version of the events that is more plausible than the officers, and you are prepared to face cross-examination. Arguing is useful when you want to focus on discrediting the other side’s evidence.

If you are testifying, you can bring in your own notes in order to help you remember events. However, please note that your notes are subject to the same rules as the police officer’s. Therefore, you must state that:

    • you prepared your own notes of the incident;

    • the notes help you remember what happened;

    • you can remember the facts of that day, independently of the notes.

How to argue

The argument you will need to make will depend on your own charge. Please check the Provincial Offences Guide to better understand how to fight it!