If I am charged with a criminal offence, can I just go to court and get duty counsel, and will that be the same as if I had my own private lawyer?

January 3, 2017

If I am charged with a criminal offence, can I just go to court and get duty counsel, and will that be the same as if I had my own private lawyer?

 

a. Yes

b. No

 

Correct answer: b. No. The full review of the strength of the case of the police against the accused needs time. There should be a comparison of the version of events as seen by the accused, as compared to the police. There should be an assessment as to whether there has been any violations of the Charter Rights of the accused, including whether they were kept in custody too long, or mistreated. This may lead to an avoidance of a conviction. Although duty counsel at court are able to provide some assistance, it is not the same as one would receive from a complete and thorough review by private counsel.

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