Experienced criminal defence counsel expects clients to have a sense of confidence by the end of a meeting – about how the system works, what can be done, what will happen in court and what the likely outcome will be.
Court appearances need not bring stress, and the courtroom need not seem mysterious. Court is just the building where we follow through on the preparation work that usually begins in a phone call and always continues throughout the case’s lifetime. Preparation gives purpose to the appearances – and more control over outcomes.
A particularly important decision that comes up in every case is whether the accused should testify in his or her own defence. Legally the accused has no obligation to step into the witness box. But in some situations testifying is a good tactic, for example on a motion to avoid the so-called “rape-shield” rules in cross-examining a complainant. More generally, some cases ‘call for an answer’ – an answer that only the accused can provide.
At trial, once the Crown has closed its case, the accused is called upon to make the final decision about whether to testify. At that moment, the accused’s ability to take the witness stand and win the case that way is the product of the pre-trial preparation work done between counsel and client. In other cases, of course, exercising and maintaining the right to silence is the best strategic option. Each and every case really is different.
The burden of proof is always on the Crown. Mr. Clark is proud to act as both sword and shield.
For a free consultation please call 416.531.7321.