Restorative Justice approach utilized in Sarnia Court:
We were successful in advocating for a discharge for a 27 year old woman charged with possession of the stimulant methamphetamine and the painkiller hydromorphone.
After a trial, our client was acquitted of Assault with a weapon based upon he was defending himself and his roommate. Our client acknowledged striking a male to protect his roommate and later used a wrench to protect himself.
We are growing and moving again !!! We are on the same street, just at the other side of down town. We are across from the Sarnia Public Library.
Matt Stone, JD
144 Christina Street South
Sarnia, Ontario N7T 2N1
It appears someone from Sarnia was given a mandatory minimum sentence that does not exist.
In the Sarnia Court, I was successful in advocating for enhanced credit for pre-trial detention. In the article below, the crown’s initial position was 15 months. My result was 112 days pretrial custody equal to 168 days. The sentence was that of 6 months (12 more days of which the client serves 7 days) custody and a 3 month conditional sentence. My client serves 118 days in custody (less than 4 months).
See the article in the local paper where my client was found not guilty of break and enter at trial.
Our offices are moving. We are now conveniently located across from the Sarnia Police station and just steps from the courthouse.
We are also implementing standard office hours for new client intake on Mondays. Just call ahead and drop in for a brief initial consultation.
568 Christina Street North
Unit C, Upper
When you attend the Sarnia courthouse at 700 North Christina Street in Sarnia, Ontario to be a surety you will have to fill out this form and have it with you. If you cannot print this, these forms are available on the third floor from duty counsel and they are available in the court office on the first floor.
Once someone has been arrested, their first concern is always – “do I go to jail now? Can I get bail?”. If you have not been in trouble before and the charges are minor, there is a good change the police will provide you with a court date and release you. If this happens, make sure you have read the release papers and understand the rules that you now must follow. Failure to follow these rules can lead to another criminal charge.
If the person is being held for a bail, they should be looking for people to be a surety. If someone has asked you then you need to understand what that means. The excerpt below is taken from the Ministry of Attorney General’s website at : http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/sureties.asp.
ACTING AS A SURETY IS A SERIOUS MATTER
A surety is someone who agrees to take responsibility for a person accused of a crime. Being a surety is a serious commitment. Before you accept this responsibility, here are a few things you should think about:
- Think about getting independent legal advice to make sure you understand what this commitment means.
- Do not agree to be a surety if you are not sure that you can supervise the accused person in the community.
- If the accused person fails to obey the terms and/or conditions of the court order, you could lose the money you have pledged.
- Your responsibility as a surety continues until the case is completely over. In some cases, this may take a long time.
Accepting a fee or being paid back in return for acting as a surety is against the law.
Responsibilities of a Surety
- Making sure the accused person comes to court on time and on the right dates.
- Making sure that the accused person obeys each condition of the bail order, also known as a recognizance.
- Conditions may require the accused person to report to the police and obey a curfew. They may also order the accused to not possess weapons, drink alcohol and/or communicate directly or indirectly with the victim or victim’s family. This means that you as the surety are also not to communicate on behalf of the accused person with the victim or the victim’s family.
- If you are accepted as a surety, you must sign the recognizance. It means that you agree to pay a specified amount of money if the accused person fails to obey the court order.
Qualifications of a Surety
- The judge or justice of the peace will decide whether you are suitable to act as a surety. Qualifications of a surety will vary depending on the allegations or charges against the accused.
- The judge will look at your finances, personal character and background.
- You may have to give evidence in court and be cross-examined about your qualifications.
Ending Your Obligations as a Surety
- You may decide that you are no longer willing or able to supervise the accused person. In this case you have two options:
- You may bring the accused to the court personally and ask that you be relieved of your responsibilities, or
- You may come to the court and apply in writing to the court to be relieved of your duties. The court will then issue an order for the arrest of the accused person.
- If you believe the accused person is a threat to your safety, you should not attempt to bring the accused person back to court yourself. Once a court order is made, the police can arrest the accused and your obligations will be over.
Failure to Obey a Court Order
- If the accused person fails to appear in court or breaks any other term of the bail order, the accused person may be charged with another criminal offence.
- If the person is found guilty of breaching the court order, the Crown may ask the court to make you pay the money you committed as a surety. A hearing will be scheduled. You and the accused person will be given at least 10 days notice of the date and place of the hearing.
- The hearing is called estreatment. It will give you an opportunity to explain why you should not lose your money.
- The judge may order that you pay all, part, or none of your money.
- Further legal action may be taken against you to collect the amount owing.
- In some cases, in addition to the surety’s pledge to pay a specified amount of money, the accused will be required to deposit a sum of money to the court.
- Where there has been a deposit of cash by the accused person, or by the surety on behalf of the accused and the case is over, that money is returned to the accused personand not to the surety.