Tag Archives: credibility

What is your success rate?

Before retaining the services of one lawyer versus another, it’s important to know how well they have done in other cases.

But what exactly is a successful case?

The most common type of success is when the judge enters an acquittal or when the charge is withdrawn. While these are the best possible outcomes, they can be the most difficult and time consuming. Going to trial takes months, if not years. The evidence must be in favour of the defence, or there is an clear breach of Charter rights. Often, the evidence is not automatically in favour of the defence, it takes a skilled trial lawyer to find inconsistencies, to search deep beneath the surface of the evidence and come up with issues of reliability of the witnesses or police notes. Sometimes, however, evidence such as the police notes, witness statements and video surveillance are not in favour of the defence, and an acquittal is not possible.

In those cases, the criminal lawyer adapts and tries to negotiate a guilty plea to a lesser offence. These types of negotiations are beneficial for numerous aspects: a lesser penalty and lesser charges indicated on a criminal record. It can be the difference between having a criminal record for an aggravated assault versus only an assault.

Criminal defence lawyers must, more often than not, focus on the sentencing component of the conviction. This becomes more of a damage control type of function. Depending on the charge and the circumstances of the offence, there may be sentencing alternatives that range from diversion programs, to discharges, to fines, and even probation.

Sometimes, it may become probable that the accused will go to jail for a period of time. In these types of cases, the criminal lawyer becomes successful when they have effectively convinced a judge that the accused should serve a lesser amount of time in custody.

While defence lawyers strive for an acquittal or withdrawal, in some cases such an outcome is not possible. A successful day before the courts does not always mean an acquittal – it may mean a plea of guilt to a lesser offence, or a plea of guilt where the accused receives a lesser penalty.

Celine Dostaler strives to reach successful results in all her cases. Speak to her today to discuss your case.

What If a Complainant Lied to the Police?

Many people are charged because someone told the police that something happened, but they don’t have any hard evidence of the crime. Most cases get to court without forensic evidence like we see on television shows like CSI: they are trials of one person’s word against another.

People who are accused of crimes often ask their criminal defence lawyer what will be used at trial, because there is no “evidence” and the complainant is lying.

It is important to remember that the complainant’s testimony is her evidence after she testifies in court, under oath or by making an affirmation.

But, witnesses are not presumed to tell the truth, even when they swear on the bible. The judge must consider that witness’s credibility and reliability before concluding if he believes the complainant. If the witness’s recounting of the incident does not make sense, if there are holes in her story, or she is contradicted with what she has told others or what others have seen, she will not be a credible or reliable witness. If the Crown’s case is made up of unreliable witnesses, the judge will have reasonable doubt that you committed the offence, and will enter an acquittal.

The purpose of a criminal defence lawyer cross-examining a complainant or witness is to weaken or destroy the Crown’s case, and to establish the defence’s case by means of his opponent’s witness.

But the work doesn’t end there: at the end of the trial, your lawyer must bring all the inconsistencies together in her submissions, and tell the court why there should be an acquittal and you would be found not guilty.

In order to protect yourself against being convicted from a complainant who is not telling the truth, you must find a lawyer who will work with you to show the court that the complainant is lying.

If your freedom is at risk, contact Celine Dostaler. She has conducted many trials, and has impeached many complainants. Many of her clients have been acquitted as a result of the research, her knowledge of the facts, the impeachments she has conducted during the trials, and her submissions to the judge.