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Private Prosecutions

NCJ Number
Date Published
This paper examines the powers and obligations of the private prosecutor in Canada to prosecute certain types of criminal cases and assesses the desirability of retaining this component of the judicial system.
A survey of the law governing private prosecutions in contemporary Canada follows the ordinary criminal process, beginning with 'laying the information' or proposing the criminal charge. It then addresses the accused's initial appearance, the hearing, appeals, and miscellaneous interventions by the Crown. Arguments for and against the private prosecutor are reviewed, and six models for restraining but allowing this system to continue are presented. In its conclusion, the paper recommends that the right to prosecute privately be retained and extended to those elements of the trial and appeal process where it is presently proscribed or restricted. It also suggests that the private prosecutor enjoy the same rights as the public prosecutor in carrying the case forward to trial and to final disposition on appeal. A comparative and historical view of private prosecutions is appended. 248 footnotes.