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Toronto Murder Lawyer Anthony De Marco

Missauga, Brampton and Newmarket Murder and Manslaughter Lawyer

Commonly Asked Questions:

1) What is first degree murder?
2) What is the sentence for first degree murder?
3) What is second degree murder?
4) What is the sentence for second degree murder?
5) What is manslaughter?
6) What is the sentence for manslaughter?
7) What are my Charter rights?
8) Can the Charter help my defence?
9) Can I get assistance from Legal Aid Ontario for my case?

If you are facing charges for murder or manslaughter, you need the best defence possible. A conviction for these offences will be completely life-altering. If you are under investigation or believe that you may be charged in connection with a death, do not hesitate to find an experienced defence lawyer.

I have more than 35 years of experience defending clients in high-stakes murder and manslaughter cases. My approach in these matters is proactive and thorough. I fully investigate the events, with the help of experts in forensics, ballistics and other fields. My practice is built on defending against serious charges, and there are none more serious than murder or manslaughter.

I am ready to meet with you and begin building your defence. Arrange a free initial consultation with me, a skilled Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Newmarket murder defence lawyer, by calling (416) 651-2299 or toll free 888-399-3164 or e-mail.

Your best defence is my experience

I also have a thorough understanding of the law surrounding confessions and identification, two areas of evidence that often prove to be critical in murder or manslaughter cases.

Murder cases must be tried by a jury. I have the necessary experience, advocacy skills and confidence to convincingly argue your case to the jury.

My experience allows me to represent clients facing any type of homicide charge in or around Toronto, including:

  • First-degree murder: murder with planning and deliberation, murder for hire, murder of a police officer, murder committed during another offence, such as robbery
  • Second-degree murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Criminal negligence causing death

What is the Sentence for Murder?

First-degree murder is punishable by life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. Second-degree murder is punishable by life in prison without eligibility for parole for 10 to 25 years. Manslaughter, attempted murder, and criminal negligence causing death are punishable by a maximum of life in prison. Accordingly, any sentence from a suspended sentence to life in prison without eligibility for parole for 7 years is possible depending on the facts of the particular case.

You should know that if the sentence is life in prison, even if you are eventually granted parole, you will be on parole for the rest of your life. If you breach a condition of parole at any point during your life, your parole can be revoked and you will go back to prison.

I will do everything possible to help you avoid the most serious consequences of conviction. You can rely on me to passionately and skilfully defend your rights and freedom.

Examples of Successful Cases

Click on the following links for summaries of a few of my successes:

R. v. C.D.
Charge: Manslaughter with a Firearm

R. v. K.L.D.S.
(1) First Degree Murder;
(2) Aggravated Assault

R. v. J.M.
Charge: Second Degree Murder

R. v. R.F., et al
Charge: First Degree Murder

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.

Pre-Trial Charter Aplications

Often, the best defence to a criminal charge involves a challenge to the investigation that resulted in the arrest of the accused or the collection of evidence against the accused. The police are not allowed to breach the rights that are guaranteed to the accused by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I will investigate any possible Charter breaches by carefully reviewing the Crown disclosure documents, including the documents used by the police to obtain search warrants for the home, car or other property of the accused, and the documents used by the police to obtain production orders, such as for cell phone records and wiretap authorizations.

If I detect any violation of the Charter rights of the accused or violation of acceptable investigative procedures established by the courts, I will proceed with an application asking for the exclusion of evidence from the trial of the accused obtained illegally by the police, including the statements of the accused and other evidence seized during the investigation.

I have an established reputation for success in pre-trial applications. Winning a Charter application will result in the exclusion of evidence if the court determines that not excluding the evidence will bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The exclusion of evidence often results in a finding of not guilty if the Crown's remaining evidence is insufficient to prove that the accused committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have the necessary experience, research skills, writing skills, and advocacy skills to prepare and effectively argue pre-trial Charter applications. The value of legal writing skills cannot be overstated since proceeding with pre-trial Charter applications will require the preparation of several documents including a Notice of Application, an Affidavit, and a Factum setting out the relevant facts and summarizing the relevant case law.

Proceeding with a Preliminary Inquiry

A person charged with murder has 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. In the past, this level of court was referred to as "High Court".

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.

Defending Those Charged With Crimes Committed While Suffering From a Mental Disorder

The Criminal Code of Canada provides that no person is criminally responsible for an act committed or an omission made while suffering from a mental disorder that rendered the person incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it is wrong. The question of whether the person knew that the act or omission was wrong involves a consideration of whether, in the circumstances, the person knew that the act or omission was "morally wrong" according to the moral standards of society.

I have extensive experience in pursuing Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) applications for clients. I have the experience, the research skills and the network of experts necessary to make a successful NCR defence on your behalf or on behalf of a loved one who suffers from mental health issues. A successful NCR application may mean the difference between spending as little as a year in a mental health facility or life in prison without eligibility for parole for 10 years or more.

Further information on Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) Applications is available here.

Representing Clients Through Legal Aid or a Rowbotham Order

Every person charged with a crime deserves a defence. Unfortunately, many accused people cannot afford legal counsel. If you or your loved one is in this predicament, you should consider applying for financial assistance through Legal Aid Ontario.

If you qualify for Legal Aid assistance, Legal Aid Ontario will issue a certificate that you can present to any defence lawyer who is on the criminal defence lawyer panel. I am on the panel and I often agree to represent Legal Aid clients. When you hire me as your lawyer, you will get the strongest possible defence. I pursue every possible legal option in an effort to win your acquittal or, with your permission, I try to have penalties reduced. I have been defending individuals accused of serious crimes since 1985. I am committed to protecting your rights and your freedom.

Rowbotham Applications

If you are unable to obtain assistance from Legal Aid Ontario, and you cannot defend yourself either because of the seriousness or the complexity of the charge you are facing, you may be a candidate for an application to the Superior Court of Justice for an order granting you state funded counsel to complete your defence.

Such an application is called a Rowbotham Application. If I review your case, and I arrive at the conclusion that you are a good candidate for a Rowbotham Order, I will proceed with your application free of cost, in other words, on a pro bono basis.

In very unique cases, even if your Rowbotham Application fails, I will complete your trial on a pro bono basis.

Further information on obtaining Legal Aid assistance or a Rowbotham Order to pay for your defence is available here.

Whether your case can be resolved through negotiations with the prosecution or must proceed to trial, you can rely on me to protect your rights.

Contact a Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Newmarket Murder and Manslaughter Charges Lawyer

Do not hesitate to reach out for legal help to fight murder or manslaughter allegations. Set up a free consultation with me by calling 416-651-2299 or toll free 1-888-399-3164 today or via e-mail.

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*Experience is Your Best Defence*