In Canada, our criminal trial process is based around an adversarial system. What this means is that the disputants are represented by professionals in the field of law. These professionals are called lawyers. The lawyers work so that the truth of the trial is brought forward and justice is served for the greater community. In the adversarial system it is believed that the search for truth is best served by the parties themselves, through their lawyers and not through the judge. This means that lawyers determine the issue in dispute and decide the best way to argue them. Judges generally play a very passive role in the trial process. Their job is merely to ensure a fair trial for the accused, and to make an unbiased, neutral decision at the end of the trial. This decision is based upon the evidence brought forward by the two teams of lawyers during the criminal trial.
In the adversarial system there are three, and sometimes four key players that make up the criminal trial process. These key players are the Crown attorney, the defence attorney and the judge or justice or the court. There is however in some cases juries involved in the trial process as well. The Crown attorney represents what is seen as the king or queen of the country, however they in actual fact represent the police officers and other law enforcers as well as the general public. The Crown has a very difficult and burdening job. They must find the accused, which is the person being charged, guilty of committing the crime. This decision must be considered and thought to be without a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is a very hard concept to define. It is based around the "golden thread" of English law, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by his or her accuser. The courts, themselves can not even come up with an exact definition, but have tried their best through this explanation. The concept of whether or not the general public would see as a calmative group a bona fide and required limit on the situation. This limit must be logical and for the purpose of a greater good. Thus the Crown attorney carries an extremely heavy burden when attempting to find the accused guilty of his or her charges. This is thought to give the accused the fairest trial possible. In Canada this way of law is the most practical and sensible way to produce fair and just trials.
The defence attorney is the second key player in the criminal trial process. The defence attorney has a less difficult job in comparison to the Crown. This is because they merely need to install or imply reasonable doubt within the Crowns case. The defence attorney is defending a person who is charged with a criminal offence. The defence attorney's job is to insure the accused receives the fairest trial possible, and hopefully aids the accused to be dismissed of all his or her charges.
The third key player in the criminal trial procedure is the judge. The judge or justice of the court is the sole adjudicator of most cases. The judge is the trier of both law and the facts within the case. The judge is a neutral organizer within the court, who listens to the legal defences, evidence, application of legal principles, and credibility of witnesses to accumulate an unbiased, impartial legal decision. Based on the decision the judge will either acquit the accused of all his or her charges, or sentence the accused.
The fourth player in the criminal trial process, who is sometimes not even included in the process, is the jury. Juries are composed of twelve members. They are chosen by council for the Crown and the defence from an array of potential jurors. The juries job is to listen to the case, take in all the facts, and come up with a unanimous decision or verdict for the accused. Juries can only be used in indictable criminal cases that are punishable by five or more years.
There are two types of questioning...