Case Profile – The Barbershop Assault Trial

October 21, 2014
October 21, 2014

Allegations:

My client was accused by an acquaintance of having perpetrated an unprovoked attack against the “victim” from behind with a steel chair as he sat in a barbershop chair.  The “victim” was with my client’s son at the time and there had been rumors that the “victim had been sleeping with my client’s wife and may even have been the father of the child.

 Charge:

Assault with a Weapon

Evidence:

The victim gave a statement to the police and had photographs taken of his injuries which was a small abrasion on his wrist as well as a bruise on his lip.

Client:

The client was adamant that he did not commit any assault  against the “victim.”  He said the “victim” attacked him and that he grabbed a chair while under attack and threw it at the “victim” to prevent the continuing assault the “victim” was perpetrating on him.

Strategy:

Given that the complainant complained of an unprovoked, vicious attack, with a weapon, the Crown was not willing to withdraw the charges.  My client, having stated that he was not guilty, was not in a position to plead guilty.  A trial was set.

I met with my client on numerous occasions to get as much background as possible with respect to the relationship he had with the “victim.”  We also spent a significant amount of time preparing for my client’s testimony at trial.  My client was very emotional about the situation and obviously very upset.  We spent a lot of time preparing him to testify calmly and in a concise manner, so that his evidence would be presented to the Judge as strong as possible.

At trial, I focused my cross-examination of the “victim” in three areas:

(1) The relationship he had with my client’s wife was more than he led on.  In fact, he did not admit that he was with my client’s son until after being asked repeatedly in cross-examination.  He admitted to having traveled to a foreign country with my client’s wife as well.  We established that he held a great deal of animosity towards my client.  This animosity was important to establish to the Court.  He had a motive to lie and make up the allegations.

(2) The physical evidence made did not accord with the “victim’s” testimony.  The “victim” stated he received was hit from behind at full force with a steel chair.  The chair came from over his head and from his testimony, it was hard enough that it almost killed him.  Yet from his testimony, he was able to stand up right away and defend himself.  He also had no injury to the back of his head.  In fact, the only injury to his head was a very minor bruise on his lip.  This was important in that it established that the “victim’s” version was implausible and that he was likely not being truthful about what actually occurred.

My client testified that once he saw his son being taken by the “victim” he followed them because his son has said repeatedly that he “did not like that man.”  He testified that he went to the barbershop, asked for his son, an argument ensued, and he was ultimately attacked.

Result:

The trial finished, and the matter was adjourned for final submissions by the Crown and Defence.  The Crown Attorney after having heard all the evidence, called me and said that on the basis of all the evidence, he does not think it would be proper for the prosecution to continue and that my client should be acquitted.  On the return date, the Crown Attorney invited the presiding Judge to dismiss the charges against my client.  All charges dismissed.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence contact Neil Singh at (905) 853-1078 or (416) 607-5414.  Click here to contact us via email.


Neil Singh is an experienced criminal lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending people charged criminally. With offices conveniently located in Toronto and Newmarket, we are able to assist those charged throughout the GTA.

 

Representing individuals charged in Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, Rexdale, York region, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Concord, Markham, Keswick, Georgina, King City, Peel Region: Brampton, Mississauga, Malton; Orangeville, Caledon, Durham region, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Halton Region, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Simcoe County, Barrie, Bradford

Do I Need a Lawyer?

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014

You’ve been charged with a criminal offence.  After the initial shock wears away, you have come to the decision that you should hire a lawyer to represent your interests in Court. In almost all cases, I would agree that people who have been charged by the police should retain counsel to defend them against the charges they face.  Whether you decide to hire myself or not, a lawyer has the benefit of many years of legal training at law school and in practice.  An experienced lawyer will also be familiar with the people who will be involved in determining your fate: the police, the crown attorney, the judge, etc.  Knowing how to negotiate with the Police and Crown Attorney, and being able to present a case properly to the Court are the best ways to ensure a positive outcome of your charges. Many people do not want to incur the expense of hiring a lawyer.  Sure.  This is completely understandable.  But with that being said, I always urge my clients to think big picture.   Yes you will incur an expense now.  But, you can rest assured that you will be defended fully and vigorously in Court.  You will be defended by someone with legal training and experience in the Court.  You will be defended by someone knowledgeable in the law. Of course you have the right to defend yourself.  But most people do not have the experience that criminal lawyers have in defending people before the Court.  And while you will save  money in not hiring a lawyer, I urge you to think of the potential downside which can last for a lifetime.  Aside from spending time in jail, some of the potential consequences include: loss of employment, inability to obtain future employment, loss of driving privileges, increased insurance rates, inability to travel to the USA and other countries, being subject to supervision in the community by a probation officer, having to submit your DNA for the National Databank, or having to register as a sex offender. The ramifications of a criminal conviction are catastrophic, and I urge you to retain an experienced lawyer.  If you seek to retain my services for your criminal defence, I will work hard to clear your name.  I will bring my knowledge, legal training, experience and passion to the table each and every day.  I will work with you to advance the strongest defence available in law. If you are facing criminal charges or are being investigated by the police, exercise your right to counsel and contact Neil Singh at (905) 853-1078 or (416) 607-5414.  Click here to contact us via email.


Neil Singh is an experienced criminal lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending people charged criminally. With offices conveniently located in Toronto and Newmarket, we are able to assist those charged throughout the GTA.

 

Representing individuals charged in Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, Rexdale, York region, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Concord, Markham, Keswick, Georgina, King City, Peel Region: Brampton, Mississauga, Malton; Orangeville, Caledon, Durham region, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Halton Region, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Simcoe County, Barrie, Bradford

Police Questioning / Interrogation

May 20, 2014
May 20, 2014

There are few real-life situations that are more terrifying than being interrogated by the police.  You are brought into a cold cinder block room.  There is nothing but a small table and two chairs.  Cameras and microphones are strategically placed to record everything that occurs in the room.

You are placed in the room by yourself and directed which chair to sit in.  The police are in complete control over you and your freedom.  You are told to wait and then, you are left alone.  There is no clock in the room, you have no idea how long you will be there.

Suddenly after what seems like forever, a police officer enters to start questioning and accusing you of committing a crime.  This officer has likely been trained in interrogation techniques.  This officer has been trained to speak to you until you confess or incriminate yourself in some way.

What are your rights?

If you have been detained or arrested you have many rights.  You have the right to contact a lawyer for advice prior to any police questioning.  You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to say anything to the police in response to the charges.

You have the right not to be questioned in a manner that is so oppressive that your free will is overcome.  Whether an interrogation crosses this line however, is not very clear.  An interrogation can be very long and aggressive without being coercive.

For adults, you do not have a right to have a lawyer present during an interrogation. But you do have the right to contact a lawyer, and you should. Contacting a lawyer at the earliest opportunity is very important.  An experienced lawyer will not only inform you of your rights, but give you advice on what you can do to withstand a police interrogation.

Remember, the police are not obligated to stop questioning you once you have spoken to a lawyer.  They are also not obligated, in most circumstances, to put you  in contact with your lawyer again if you request it during your interrogation.  In some circumstances, the police can even tell you that they have certain evidence of your guilt, even when they do not.  The court in many circumstances will allow this type of police trickery.

In many ways, the ‘deck’ is stacked against you in an interrogation room.  The law evens the playing field by letting you speak to a lawyer for advice.

You will always have the opportunity to tell your side of the story, if you choose.  That is what trials are for.  Interrogations are designed to make you look guilty.  The police have already made up their mind that you are guilty, so do not expect them to be impartial.  Judges preside with impartiality.  If you choose, wait to tell your story to them.

Make the right choice: remain silent.

If you have been arrested, exercise your right to counsel and contact Neil Singh at (905) 853-1078 or (416) 607-5414.  Click here to contact us via email.


Neil Singh is an experienced criminal lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending people charged criminally. With offices conveniently located in Toronto and Newmarket, we are able to assist those charged throughout the GTA.

 

Representing individuals charged in Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, Rexdale, York region, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Concord, Markham, Keswick, Georgina, King City, Peel Region: Brampton, Mississauga, Malton; Orangeville, Caledon, Durham region, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Halton Region, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Simcoe County, Barrie, Bradford

Investigation & Arrest

May 15, 2014
May 15, 2014

Your worst nightmare has come true. The police have stopped you and investigated you. Before you know it, you have been arrested and charged you with a criminal offence. You are probably scared, overwhelmed, and embarrassed. You are at the mercy of the police.

 

The single-most important thing I can tell you is that a charge is just a charge. It is not a conviction; it is not a criminal record. Just because the police believe you have committed a crime, it does not mean that you have committed a crime. It also does not mean that they can prove you have committed a crime. It is extremely important to retain an experienced criminal lawyer who can help you protect your legal interests from the earliest possible opportunity.

 

An experienced lawyer can help you protect yourself.  Things you do and say may be used against you by the Crown Attorney to try to prove that you are guilty, even if you are not.

 

Every person in Canada is guaranteed certain rights. You have a right to silence. Assert your right to silence. You also have a right to consult with counsel upon arrest and detention. Exercise this right. Speak to an experienced criminal see cell lawyer, you will receive invaluable advice on how to be in the best position for the legal battle that lies ahead.

 

A criminal record can have disastrous consequences. It can affect your employment, your family, your ability to travel. Your freedom may be at stake.

 

If you have been arrested, exercise your right to counsel and contact Neil Singh at (905) 853-1078 or (416) 607-5414.  Click here to contact us via email.


Neil Singh is an experienced criminal lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending people charged criminally. With offices conveniently located in Toronto and Newmarket, we are able to assist those charged throughout the GTA.

 

Representing individuals charged in Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, Rexdale, York region, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Concord, Markham, Keswick, Georgina, King City, Peel Region: Brampton, Mississauga, Malton; Orangeville, Caledon, Durham region, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Halton Region, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Simcoe County, Barrie, Bradford

Bail Hearing Process

August 29, 2012
August 29, 2012

There have been a lot of articles written about the law surrounding bail bearings, the vast majority of which are very well written.

Of course, knowing the law on a bail hearing is very important. But the practice of law is more than just being knowledgable in the law. It is just as much about knowing and dealing with people. This includes everyone involved in the bail process: the accused, the proposed surety, the crown attorney, the police, and the justice of the peace (or judge as it may be).

An inability to properly deal with any of the parties can be the difference between success or failure at the bail hearing stage.

This is what the focus of my post is going to be about. You will learn about my process for preparing and conducting a bail hearing.

(1) The Police

My involvement in the bail process often begins when I am contacted by the police calling to inform me that a person they have arrested is requesting my assistance as their lawyer. In speaking with the Officer in Charge of the investigation, I try to gain as much information as possible regarding the allegations: what are the charges, what are the facts being alleged, what witnesses or evidence do the police actually have. It is not uncommon for the police to not give much information at this stage, and quite frankly, I don’t push the issue. I know that my client has the fundamental right to know the case and evidence against him or her and I will get that information whether or not the officer tells me. The point of this exercise is not so much about the answers I get, but the message I am portraying to the police: “I known what I am doing, I am serious about this matter, and I will be vigorously defending my client’s rights”

I then ask the police for as much information about my cient. Were they cooperative upon arrest, what is their criminal record (if it is a new client), what is the police position on bail. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to negotiate my client’s release directly from the station. Even if the police are not inclined to release my client, speaking to them about the matter may lead to them making a recommendation to the Crown for my client’s release if certain conditions are met.

I am always polite, respectful and courteous to the officer. Upsetting anyone with rudeness is a sure fire way to make the entire bail process more difficult than it needs to be. It is important to build a positive rapport with everyone you deal with. Your reputation means a lot in the practice of law and is integral to your success.

(2) My Client

After speaking to the police, I then ask to speak to my client. Among other things, I inform my clients about their fundamental right to silence under the Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I will detail my approach to the right to silence in another post.

After I ensure that my client is aware of his Constitutional rights, we start to speak about the bail process. I will advise my client of the police officer’s position on bail and whether or not it’s is likely that he would be released from jail that day. If it appears as though the client will be take to court for a bail hearing, I need to start preparing as soon as possible.

First, I canvass if the client has a potential surety in mind. I obtain their full name and telephone number from my client. I also obtain as much information about anyone else that might be able to be a surety if my client’s ideal surety is not able to step in.

I then ask my client about his history with the criminal justice system. Does he have a criminal record (if so what are the details), does he have any outstanding charges, is his proposed surety, his current surety on any outstanding charges, has he ever been found guilty of breaching his bail, probation, or any court orders? It is important to get as much information from these questions as possible. The answers that are given could greatly affect the client’s ability to get bail. these answers will also allow me to assess what an appropriate plan of release to propose to the court would be.

(3) Proposed Surety

A surety is someone who puts themselves forward for to the court who pledges to supervise an accused person in the community. I conduct thorough interviews with proposed sureties. The reason for this is three-fold (1) I need to determine whether or not the surety is a suitable one (knows my client well enough, has sufficient assets to pledge for my client’s release, has never been a surety before for someone who has breached their bail, etc); (2) I need to determine if the surety can implement a plan of supervision that the Court is likely to endorse (will the surety be able to properly supervise my client to the level deemed appropriate by the Court); (3) I need to determine whether or not there are any conditions the surety will be insisting be ordered by the Court in order to agree to supervise my client in the community; (4) I need to prepare the surety for the bail hearing.

In preparing the proposed surety for a bail hearing, I will go through the entire bail hearing process with the surety in advance so that they are nto caught off guard during the proceedings. I will go through the allegations of the Crown, the Criminal Record (if any) of my ciient, and I will even do a mock cross-examination of the surety as if I were the Crown so that the surety knows just what to expect. It is through this type of meticulous preparation of the surety that we will be best prepared to conduct a successful bail hearing.

(4) The Crown Attorney

Once I arrive at Court, I will attend at the bail court to discuss the matter with the Crown Attorney. First I ask to see the Crown Synopsis of the charges against my client. I ask for any other information that may be relevant to the bail hearing as well, such as what my client’s criminal record is, and whether or not he has any outstanding charges as well.

Generally, I will discuss with the Crown whether or not they are in a position to consent to my client’s release. This is a negotiation process, where I speak to the Crown about my proposal for my client’s release and why it is a sufficient plan. Often times, the Crown Attorney agrees and my client will be released on the consent of the Crown. However, the Crown may be of the view that the charges, or my client’s past criminal history is too significant to agree to his release. This of course means we will have to run a contested bail hearing, usually before a Justice of the Peace

(5) Judge / Justice of the Peace

The bail hearing usually takes place before a Justice of the Peace, but can take place before a Judge. The Crown will usually begin by reading the allegations to the Justice of the Peace. In some more serious matters, the Crown may call an officer to testify regarding the charges as well. In either case, the defence has the opportunity to either cross-examine the officer or ask questions of the Crown in regards to the allegations (if a synopsis is read). I make it a practice to always ask a few questions of the Crown in regards to the Synopsis. These questions are usually geared at exposing holes in the strength of a Crown case. Although, the strength of the Crown case is not always a consideration in a bail hearing, I am of the view that a Justice of the Peace will be more likely to release an accused person if it can be demonstrated that the Crown’s case is not as strong as it originally seems.

After the Crown is finished presenting the allegations, the surety will be examined and cross-examined. If something arises out of the Crown Attorney’s cross-examination, I can ask further clarification questions before the witness is excused. I tend not to do so, unless it is something very important. I like sending the message to the Justice of the Peace that I am confident in the plan. This is why preparation of the surety is of utmost importance. A well-prepared surety should be able to withstand a vigorous cross-examination from a skilled Crown Attorney.

Once the sureties have completed their testimony, it is time for final submissions. There is a usual order depending on which side has the burden of proof in the bail hearing. There are many crimes and situations which require an accused to demonstrate to the Court why they should be released. There are other situations where the Crown bears the burden of establishing the accused should remain in custody while awaiting trial. Normally the party who bears the onus at the bail hearing, will go first in final submissions.

I like to always go first. I often ask the Court if I may, and the Crown often allows me to. The reason for this is simple: at this point in the proceedings, I have a pretty good idea what the Crown’s arguments are going to be. I can limit the effectiveness of those arguments by confronting them before the Crown Attorney has had the opportunity to bring them to the attention of the Court. I can present to the Court why the release of my client is appropriate in the circumstances, not withstanding the Crown Attorney’s concerns. Additionally, once the Crown has presented their final submissions, I have the right of reply. Quite simply, in an argument it is always nice to get the last word!

It is important to always be polite and respectful to a Judge or Justice of the Peace. Never interrupt and always maintain eye contact when addressing the Court. It is also very important to watch the Justice during the course of the proceedings – sometimes they give clues as to what impresses them or what bothers them about the matter before them. Picking up on these cues can be very important to the ultimate success of your bail hearing. If you can address their concerns without having them ask you about them, you could be well on your way to success.

Remember, we in a bail hearing we are always dealing with people. Learning how people think, act, and react is integral to conducting a successful bail hearing.

My preparation process is meticulous. But I believe in giving each of my client’s the best possible opportunity to be released from custody. I believe in vigorously defending their rights at all stages of the Criminal Court process.

 


 

Neil Singh is an experienced criminal lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending people charged criminally. With offices conveniently located in Toronto and Newmarket, we are able to assist those charged throughout the GTA.

 

Representing individuals charged in Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, Rexdale, York region, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Concord, Markham, Keswick, Georgina, King City, Peel Region: Brampton, Mississauga, Malton; Orangeville, Caledon, Durham region, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Halton Region, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Simcoe County, Barrie, Bradford