Guilty Pleas in Ontario Criminal Proceedings

There are a number of decisions open to an accused in a criminal proceeding. One is whether to take the case to trial or plead guilty and give up the right to trial. As a person pleading guilty, it is important that you have proper information before doing so, so that you are aware of the consequences.

To be valid, a guilty plea must be voluntary and unequivocal. It must be informed, in the sense that the accused must be aware of the allegations made against him or her, and of the effect and “legally relevant collateral consequences” of the plea. Legally relevant collateral consequences include for ex. immigration consequences. To set aside a presumptively valid plea, an appellant must establish that : (i) he or she was unaware of a legally relevant consequence of the plea, assessed objectively; and (ii) he or she has suffered prejudice, in the sense that he or she would have acted differently had he or she been properly made aware of the consequences.

Pleading guilty is an action. As with every action consequences will follow. Some may transpire in the short term , some maybe in the longer term. Being informed is key before making this important decision.*

William Poulos, Barrister

* This blog is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require legal advice a lawyer should be consulted.

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