Strong Defence Against Robbery Charges in the Greater Toronto Area
No matter what type of charges you may be facing, it is critical to retain a reputable lawyer as soon as possible. I offer my clients more than 30 years of experience practising criminal law here in Ontario. I understand the law and the legal system, and use the knowledge and skill I have gained over the years to protect my clients' rights.
GTA Armed Robbery Charge Law Firm
Robbery is the crime of stealing from a person using violence or threats of violence. In robbery cases, prosecutors will consider:
- Whether a weapon was used (such as a firearm, knife or other object)
- Whether the victim was injured or killed
- Whether a bystander was injured or killed
- Where the robbery took place
An armed robbery in which a firearm, including an air pistol, was used carries a minimum sentence of four years of imprisonment. If someone is killed during the course of the robbery, a first-degree murder charge is likely.
Building Defences Against Theft and Robbery Allegations
In many of the robbery and theft cases I handle, the identity of the perpetrator comes into question. In the midst of a crime, it is easy for witnesses to become confused about the person's physical appearance. Even video surveillance and forensic evidence, such as finger prints, gunshot residue or DNA, can sometimes be inconclusive.
Because robbery charges are often difficult to prove, the police often subject persons suspected of having committed robbery 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.
When you hire me as your lawyer, I will meticulously evaluate all of the evidence against you and create the strongest possible defence on your behalf. If your case requires a jury trial, I have the necessary experience, advocacy skills and confidence to convincingly argue your case to the jury.
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.
Call Toronto Defence Lawyer Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation
Contact my Toronto, Ontario, office today to discuss your theft or robbery 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 or via e-mail.