Skilled Ontario Robbery And Violent Crime Lawyer
Have you been charged with armed robbery or extortion? There are serious potential penalties and even automatic minimum penalties if convicted.
Robbery is the crime of stealing from a person while using violence or threats of violence or stealing from a person while armed with an offensive weapon or an imitation of an offensive weapon. Extortion is the crime of using threats, accusations, menacing conduct or violence against another person with the intent to obtain anything or cause anything to be done.
Both the offence of robbery and the offence of extortion are punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.
I have more than 30 years of experience defending against the most serious charges, including armed robbery and extortion. I believe strongly that everyone deserves a defence, and I will work hard to build the strongest possible defence on your behalf.
Schedule a free initial consultation with a Toronto armed robbery defence lawyer today by calling 416-651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my law firm online.
Armed Robbery and Extortion Penalties
There are additional factors that contribute to the minimum penalties a person can face if convicted of robbery or extortion. They include:
- Firearms: If the robbery or the extortion is committed using a firearm, minimum penalties will apply. If robbery is committed while using a firearm or if extortion is committed while using a firearm, the convicted person will be subject to a maximum sentence of life in prison and to a minimum sentence of four years in prison.
- Criminal organizations: If robbery is committed while using a firearm and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization, the convicted person will be subject to a maximum sentence of life in prison and to a minimum sentence of five years in prison for a first offence and seven years in prison for a second or subsequent offence. Similarly, if extortion is committed while using a firearm and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization, the convicted person will be subject to a maximum sentence of life in prison and to a minimum sentence of five years in prison for a first offence and seven years in prison for a second or subsequent offence.
- Robbery/Extortion: Because robbery and extortion charges are often difficult to prove, the police often subject persons suspected of having committed robbery and extortion to strenuous and long interrogations in an effort to obtain inculpatory statements or confessions. The information obtained from the suspect may be used by the police to obtain a search warrant for the suspect' s home or property resulting in the uncovering of further incriminating evidence. If the rights of the suspect, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are violated during the interrogation, an Application may be brought to exclude from the evidence at trial not only the statements made by the suspect, but also the evidence seized by the police during the execution of the search warrant. In addition, before an inculpatory statement or confession may be ruled admissible at trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect made the statements voluntarily free from coercion, inducement or oppression.
What Is Considered a Firearm?
A firearm is defined in the Criminal Code of Canada as a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury to or death of a person.
An air pistol may be found to be a firearm if the air pistol is able to fire a projectile at a high feet per second velocity, provided that the projectile is capable of causing serious bodily injury to or death of a person.
If someone is killed during the commission of the robbery, a first-degree murder charge is likely.
DNA and Other Forensic Evidence
Forensic evidence, such as DNA evidence, is just one type of evidence that the Crown can try to introduce against a person accused of a crime. The defence can challenge the admissibility of forensic evidence on the basis of relevance, prejudice or that there is a lack of a sufficient scientific foundation to make the evidence reliable and worthy of being admitted, in other words, the forensic evidence is inadmissible because it is based on "junk science".
Over the years, there have been several types of forensic evidence that have been rejected by the courts in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada, including voice print identification, comparative bullet lead analysis and several indicators of arson dependent on visual cues.
Likewise, there are various other types of forensic evidence which are possibly unreliable, such as microscopic hair comparison, and "pattern comparison" evidence such as bite marks, tire marks and handwriting.
Even in cases where the forensic evidence is ruled admissible, the defence can still try to weaken the impact of the evidence by arguing, for example, that the results of the forensic testing were the subject of "motivated perception". In other words, the scientist who did the testing interpreted the results so as to support his or her expectations or the expectations of the police or Crown prosecutors. The defence can argue, or call evidence to show, that the forensic examiner should have first tested the evidence blindly without knowing anything about the case in order to avoid a subconscious bias. Studies have shown that even the opinion of fingerprint analysts can be affected by the analysts’ preconceived notions about the case. Also, there is always a risk of a false positive. Moreover, if the laboratory that completed the testing, such as the Centre of Forensic Sciences, is known to have made errors on occasion in the past, the defence can argue that the error rates should also be entered in evidence.
In appropriate cases, and where funds permit, the evidence can be re-tested by an independent laboratory for verification.
A good defence lawyer should know the weaknesses of specific scientific techniques or seek out an appropriate defence consulting expert to learn about and present evidence regarding those weaknesses.
Electing to Have a Preliminary Inquiry
In most cases in which a Defendant is facing indictable charges, or the Crown elects to proceed by indictment, the Defendant will have the right to proceed with a preliminary inquiry in the Ontario Court of Justice and then a trial in the Superior Court of Justice before a court composed of a Judge sitting with a jury or without a jury. In the past, this level of court was referred to as "High Court".
The completion of a preliminary inquiry is not mandatory. The Defendant has the right to waive the preliminary inquiry and to proceed directly to trial in either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice. If the trial is to be completed in the Superior Court of Justice, the waiver of the preliminary inquiry will require the consent of the Crown.
At a preliminary inquiry, the Crown is required to call some evidence upon which a properly instructed jury, acting reasonably, may return a verdict of guilt. This is an easy test for the Crown to meet in the vast majority of cases. Accordingly, it is relatively rare for someone who proceeds with a preliminary inquiry to be discharged with respect to all of the charges which he or she is facing. The real value in having a preliminary inquiry is not in the hope of being entirely discharged, thereby bringing the entire criminal proceedings to an end, but in being able to better prepare the case for trial. The defence lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine and test the evidence of the primary Crown witnesses. An experienced and skilled defence lawyer can discover the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown witnesses and commence building an effective defence strategy. A preliminary inquiry is especially valuable for the defence in cases involving young, infirm, unreliable or unsavory Crown witnesses.
Contact Toronto Extortion and Armed Robbery Lawyer
Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation
Contact my Toronto, Ontario, extortion and armed robbery defence law firm today to discuss your specific case. I offer a free 30-minute consultation. For your convenience, I accept Visa and offer payment plans. You can reach me by phone at 416-651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my law office online.