cadaver
the body of a deceased person
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
part of the Constitution Act 1982, the Charter describes the rights we all enjoy as Canadians; any law, policy or government decision that violates the rights outlined in the Charter can be struck down (eliminated) as unconstitutional. The Charter contains many sections, each outlining different rules or regulations, some of which apply to all criminal trials
Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC)
a computer database which has been in operation since 1972 that ensures the sharing of information and services among law enforcement organizations across Canada; operated by the RCMP through the National Police Service, the system enables police officers to call up information on vehicles, stolen property, convicted criminals, firearms, as well as missing persons. When someone is arrested, their fingerprints are entered into the CPIC system
capital punishment
punishment by being put to death by the government for certain offences. Capital punishment was abolished in Canada in 1976 and is no longer an option in sentencing
challenge for cause
to object to a potential juror and if successful remove that person from becoming a member of the jury. This is usually done to remove jury members that may have a personal interest in the case or a bias for or against the accused
change of venue
the moving of a trial from one jurisdiction to another in order to obtain an impartial jury. This is usually done when the case has gathered a great deal of publicity and it would be difficult to find jurors who have not already formed an opinion regarding the case
charge
the formal laying of a Criminal Code offence by the police, in recognition of a crime that has occurred. Also, a judge can ‘charge’ a jury by instructing them about the law and its application in a particular case
chemical castration
Using chemical injections which reduces the sexual drive of an offender
child abuse register
a database within each province which lists people determined by child-welfare agencies to constitute a risk to children in their care, usually because of sexual or physical abuse
child molester
an individual who engages in any type of sexual activity with individuals legally defined as children
child neglect
a form of child abuse that occurs when a parent or care giver does not provide for the basic emotional and physical needs of the child on an ongoing basis. Examples of neglect include not providing the proper clothing, shelter, diet, education, personal health care, supervision, medical and dental care, adequate rest, safe environment, moral guidance and discipline, exercise, and fresh air for a child
child physical abuse
any intentional form of injury or harm inflicted on a child by another person
child pornography
any photograph, film, video, or picture that shows a person who is, or is depicted to be, under 18 years of age in explicit sexual activity or that shows, with a sexual purpose, the genital or anal region of someone under 18; child pornography also includes any written material that advocates sexual activity with a person under 18
child sexual abuse
the use of a child for sexual purposes that includes any form of direct or indirect sexual contact with a young person by an adult, an older child, or a sibling who is more mature
Children’s Aid Society (CAS)
an organization which is responsible for the protection of children under the age of 16 whose primary objective is to protect children and to strengthen and support the well-being of children and their families
circumstantial evidence
a series of events or circumstances leading to the inescapable conclusion of the guilt of the accused, even though direct evidence is not available
citizens advisory committee
a group of volunteers who assist federal offenders or provide advice and make recommendations to the Correctional Service of Canada
civil law
also called private law, this is a general category of laws about contracts, inheritances, divorce, custody of children, child welfare, insurance, etc.
clearance rate
the proportion of actual incidents known to police that are solved with the identification of a suspect
clemency
see “pardon
closed custody
see “secure custody
co-accused
someone who is jointly charged with the accused as part of the same indictment.
coercion
to force someone to comply
cold case
an unsolved case that is no longer being investigated by police
common law
a system of unwritten law that can be traced back to eleventh century England based on custom and judicial precedents (previous decisions), as opposed to statute law (written); often referred to as ‘judge-made law’
community corrections
a term often used to describe conditional release and conditional sentences in which convicted offenders serve their time not in prisons, but rather in the community under certain conditions.
community policing
a philosophy of policing in which the police and the public work together to prevent and respond to crime and other community problems
community service
a sentence in which the offender is required to work a set number of hours for a community agency
compensation
to award a victim for loss of, or damage to property, loss of income, or other special damages that resulted from a crime. Compensation programs are administered by the provincial government and each province compensates for different kinds of costs.
complainant
see “victim
composite drawing
a picture that an artist draws (or is generated by a computer) of a suspect based on the victim’s or a witness’s description
concurrent sentence
separate sentences imposed for two or more offences that are served at the same time (e.g. an offender sentenced to two concurrent terms of 10 years each, serves 10 years in total, rather than 20)
conditional discharge
similar to an absolute discharge except the offender is placed on probation, with various conditions; if the offender satisfies all of the conditions within the specified period, he or she is discharged and considered never to have been convicted and will have no criminal record
conditional release
the release of offenders (with conditions) prior to the conclusion of their prison sentence outlined in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. This includes temporary absences (escorted and unescorted), day parole, full parole, statutory release and work release
conditional sentence
a sentence available to offenders sentenced to less than two years in prison in which the offender serves the sentence in the community (under certain conditions)
conditions of release
rules that must be followed by offenders once they are released on parole or statutory release; e.g. being of good behaviour, not using alcohol, not contacting the victim, etc.
confession
a voluntary admission of guilt by the accused
consecutive sentence
separate sentences imposed for two or more offences that are to be served one after the other
consent
the voluntary agreement of one person to engage in an activity with another. Concerning sexual assault, sexual activity without consent is always a crime regardless of the age of the individuals; consent is not even questioned for children under 12 years of age – they cannot legally give their consent for sexual acts. Children, ages 12 to 14 can give their consent only if their partner is less than two years older than they are, and children between 14 and 18 cannot consent to a person who holds a position of trust or authority over them. Consent CANNOT be assumed based on the victim’s silence or actions.
conspiracy
the agreement by two or more persons to commit an offence
contempt of court
disrespect for the court or failure to follow the directions of the court
convict
a person serving a sentence for a crime
conviction
the formal decision of a criminal trial which finds the accused guilty of the crime they were accused of. It is the finding of a judge or jury that a person has, beyond reasonable doubt, committed the crime for which he or she has been accused. Once convicted, an accused may then be sentenced
coroner
a medical officer whose duty it is to inquire into the deaths of all persons within a specific area to determine a cause of death
coroner’s inquest
a procedure nearly always held when a death may have been due to violence, negligence, misconduct, malpractice, a disease or sickness not treated by a doctor, misadventure or dangerous practices, or any other death that occurs under suspicious circumstances. An inquest involves a coroner and a jury which examine evidence and hear witnesses to determine, when, where, how, and by what means the person died – at the conclusion of an inquest the jury may make recommendation so that a similar death can be avoided in the future
corporate crime
criminal activities carried out by business corporations including crimes against the economy, crimes against the environment, crimes against consumers, crimes against humanity and crimes against employees. It is usually a crime that is designed to meet the profit goals of the corporation
correctional institution
more commonly called prisons, these include any federal or provincial institution that houses convicted offenders
Correctional Service Canada (CSC)
the federal government agency responsible for administering sentences of a term of two years or more, as imposed by the courts. CSC is responsible for managing institutions of various security levels and supervising offenders under conditional release in the community
corrections
the agencies responsible for implementing the sentence given by the court
Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA)
legislation governing the corrections and parole system
corroboration
testimony that confirms or supports a witness’s evidence
counsel
see “lawyer
court
the government body responsible for the administration of justice.
court based services
services provided to victims within the courthouse including information and orientation about the court process, emotional support throughout the court process if needed, witness services and meetings with the Crown. Not all provinces have court based services.
court clerk
keeps a record of the trial evidence, administers oaths, and announces the beginning or end of court sessions
court of appeal
see “provincial appellate courts
court reporter
records everything that is said at the preliminary trial or the trial
court security officer
handles accused persons who are in custody, helps any witness concerned about his or her safety, and helps maintain security in the courtroom
crime
acts that violate the criminal law as listed in official government documents
crime control
an orientation to criminal justice where the concern is more with catching law breakers than with the individual rights of the accused; compare with due process
crime rate
the number of criminal incidents discovered by or reported to the police and can be written in many different ways. Among the most common is the number of times it occurs in 100,000 people or how often it occurs in different areas.
Criminal Code of Canada
the entire text in which most criminal offences are listed. When someone commits a crime, in court they will usually say that it is “contrary to section *** in the Criminal Code of Canada.” Also listed are the procedures for responding to crimes and the sentences which are recommended for persons found guilty of committing certain crimes. Everything within the Criminal Code applies equally across Canada
criminal harassment
the behaviour of someone who follows you around, sends you unwanted letters and gifts, phones you, threatens you or your family, or harasses you in other ways; also known as stalking. This behaviour in itself is not always criminal. It becomes a criminal act after the person has been asked to stop and then continues to do so in many cases. This is extremely difficult to prosecute and if this is a issue then the victim must keep all records of the behaviour and turn them over to the police as evidence to help the victim’s case.
criminal injuries compensation
a service provided by some provincial governments where financial compensation is awarded to victims of violent crime or to the families of murder victims for various expenses that they may have incurred as a result of the crime that was committed against them
criminal injuries compensation board
a group of appointed people who decide whether a victim is eligible for a financial settlement. They also decided how much money the victim should receive (if it is decided that they are eligible for compensation)
criminal justice system
the term used to describe the entire system which deals with accused, offenders and victims. This can include legislation, agencies responsible for the application of this legislation (i.e. police), courts, correctional agencies responsible for incarceration, probation and conditional release, various private agencies, and volunteers
criminal law
it defines what acts are against the law, sets out the rules for matters such as arrest and gathering evidence and sets out the available penalties
criminal negligence
carelessness or indifference towards the lives and safety of other persons; a person is criminally negligent if they do something (or fail to do something required of them) that shows disregard for the lives or safety of others
criminal record
the formal account of a persons criminal history. A person’s criminal history is usually kept on the CPIC system
criminology
an area of study which uses the perspectives of sociology, psychology, law, political science, geography and anthropology to examine a wide range of issues related to crime and the criminal justice system
crisis intervention
services for victims that provide short-term assistance after victimization
cross examine
When a person is asked questions in a court to give answers as evidence they are being questioned by the side that called them to appear. This can be the crown or the defence. A cross examination happens after the person has answered all of the questions and is now being questioned by the opposite side that did not call them to appear. These questions are typically ‘leading’ questions – questions which suggest the answers; it is an attempt to show possible flaws in the testimony
crown
the supreme executive authority in Canada which comes from the monarchy (the Queen) of the United Kingdom; the Queen of England is represented in Canada by the Governor General and in the provinces by the lieutenant-governor
Crown attorney
the lawyer that represents the government and society, and presents evidence about the crime to the court. The Crown attorney has the responsibility of proving the accused is guilty, but is not the victim’s lawyer. Also referred to as the Crown prosecutor, Crown counsel, or simply the Crown
cruel and unusual punishment
punishment that is as excessive as to outrage standards of decency. To determine whether a punishment is ‘cruel and unusual’ the effects of the punishment must be balanced against the particular circumstances of the offence, the characteristics of the offender and the particular purposes sought to be accomplished in sentencing. Under § 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ‘everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment’
cruelty to animals
deliberately inflicting pain and/or torturing a pet animal, wildlife, or livestock
culpable homicide
murder, manslaughter or infanticide
custodial sentence
a prison sentence which is served in prison ‘custody.’
custody
time spent under arrest, during the trial, and in prison
dangerous offender
a designation that can be applied to offenders who have committed a ‘serious personal injury offence’, and either show a pattern of repetitive or aggressive behaviour such that the offender constitutes a threat to the safety of the public and/or shows an inability to control his or her sexual impulses and will likely cause injury or pain to other persons. An offender declared a dangerous offender will receive an indeterminate prison sentence which technically means that they could be in prison for the rest of their life
dark figure of crime
the difference between how much crime occurs and how much is reported to or discovered by the police
date rape
see “acquaintance rape
date rape drug
These can be colourless, odourless, and tasteless drugs, usually slipped into a drink that can make a victim unconscious and/or vulnerable to an assault; victims frequently have no memory of what happened and the drugs can be difficult to trace
day parole
a form of conditional release allowing the offender to be released into the community during the day to participate in community-based activities. The offender must return nightly to the institution or halfway house
decision register sheet
the document used by the parole board to outline decisions made on conditional release
dead time
time spent in custody pending and during the trial
defence
the case on behalf of the accused. Evidence presented by the accused in his or her own favour
defence counsel
the lawyer representing the accused and his or her interests.
defence of necessity
an extremely rare defence to a crime in which the accused admits to the offence but argues that he or she had to break the law because of circumstances beyond their control (i.e. speeding when driving a critically injured person to the hospital where if you did not speed the person may have died)
defence of property
this defence holds that any person can use force to prevent someone from either taking their property or from trespassing on their property
defendant
the accused at a trial (see “accused“)
definite sentence
see “determinate sentence”
denunciation
a principle of sentencing that acts to express the public disapproval of a type of criminal behaviour
department of justice
the federal ministry responsible for providing legal services and advice to the federal government, drafting legislation, and implementing government policy related to the administration of justice
deposition
see “affidavit
detention center
an institution where accused individuals are held pending trial and during the trial. It also houses some offenders serving short term sentences
detention during period of statutory release
denial of statutory release by the National Parole Board; a federal inmate who is identified as posing too great a threat to the community may be denied statutory release and kept in prison for some or all of the remaining sentence
detention hearing
see “bail hearing
determinate sentence
a sentence of a specific and fixed length, sometimes called a flat sentence
deterrence
a principle of sentencing that acts to discourage criminal acts; see also specific deterrence and general deterrence
disclosure
the requirement of the Crown to give the defence attorney copies (or access to copies) of all evidence relating to the trial – the defence does not have to do the same
discovery
see “disclosure”
disparity
when different decisions are made under similar circumstances; the most commonly discussed disparity is sentence disparity (different sentences for the same crime)
disposition
see “sentence
dissent
to disagree or differ in opinion from the majority
diversion
see “alternative measures
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
often referred to as a genetic fingerprint (no two people have the same DNA except identical twins); it can be obtained through samples of blood, hair, semen, saliva, bone marrow, flesh, urine, and teeth (pulp)
DNA databank
an information centre which enables police to match collected DNA samples from convicted offenders of serious crimes to samples taken from various crime scenes
DNA warrant
permission given to police by a judge to take tissue samples (hair, buccal swabs, or blood) from a criminal suspect for DNA analysis
docket
a list of cases on a court calendar; a list of court decisions
domestic abuse/violence
physical, psychological or sexual abuse by a man or women against their partner
double jeopardy
the principle that holds that you cannot usually be tried twice for the same offence (in contrast to the American system, a Canadian case can be retried after being acquitted if the Crown successfully appeals the decision by claiming problems with the correct application of the law at the trial)
due process
an orientation to criminal justice in which the legal rights of individual citizens, including crime suspects, are the greatest concern
duress
a defence to a crime, similar to the defence of necessity except that the defence here is that the accused argues that another person forced them to commit the crime against their wishes