Court Site Study of Adult Unrepresented Accused in the Provincial Criminal Courts (Part 2: Site Reports)

Chapter 2: Regina (continued)

2.4 Other types of representation

2.4.1 Prevalence of other types of representation

Figure R-4 uses data from the Disposed Cases sample to calculate the type of representation provided by various types of counsel at each stage of the criminal process. 

Figure R-4. Disposed Cases: By Type of Representation by Appearance, Type, Regina *

Representation at First Three Appearances
Appearance Represented by Total: All Types of Representation (including self)**
Self (%) Legal Aid (%) Private Counsel (%) Appointed Counsel (%)
First appearance 61 17 17 5 5322 (100%)
Second Appearance (if any) 32 43 20 6 6097 (101%)
Third Appearance (if any) 25 46 22 6 5108 (99%)

Representation at Key Stages
Appearance Represented by Total: All Types of Representation (including self)**
Self (%) Legal Aid (%) Private Counsel (%) Appointed Counsel (%)
Bail 72 19 8 1 1288 (100%)
Plea 22 49 22 8 5125 (100%)
Defence Election 9 56 34 2 815 (100%)
Final Appearance 21 50 22 7 6829 (100%)

Notes

  • *  Excludes cases for which representation information is not available.
  • **  Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

The Figure suggests that:

  • Legal Aid assisted a little under a fifth of all accused at first appearance and the appearance at which bail is considered.
  • Legal Aid assisted approximately half of all accused at plea, defence elections, and final appearance.
  • Private counsel assisted a significant proportion of accused at all stages other than bail – from almost a fifth of all accused at first appearance to over a third of accused at defence elections.  Given the small number of legal aid certificates issued (less than 1,000 annually for the entire province), it seems apparent that most of the private bar members appearing in criminal court in Regina were privately retained and reimbursed.  The relatively low incidence of private counsel appearing at bail hearings may suggest something about the economic circumstances of those who are initially detained by police.
  • There was found a surprising number of cases of counsel appointed by the court, fully 7 percent of all cases at final appearance, or 479 cases.  This suggests that the courts were reluctant to see as many accused unrepresented as would otherwise have occurred; and perhaps also that significant numbers of accused were so unco-operative with Legal Aid that they were ultimately turned away.

Next, Figure R-5 shows different types of representation at the final appearance, in cases where the most serious offences were charged.[11]  It suggests that:

  • The offences that had a higher frequency of Legal Aid representation were homicide, break and enter, robbery, and "other federal statutes."
  • The offences that had a lower frequency of Legal Aid representation were public order offences (such as public disturbances, prostitution and gaming), impaired driving, and simple drug possession.
  • The offences that had a higher frequency of private counsel representation were homicide, sexual assaults, impaired driving, drug offences, and public order offences.
  • The offences that had a higher frequency of appointed counsel representation were impaired driving, weapons offences, thefts and frauds, and "other federal statutes."
Figure R-5. Percentage Distribution of Disposed Cases:
Representation Status at Final Appearance by Most Serious Charge Category, Regina*
Most Serious Charge Category Proportion of Cases represented by Number of
Cases
Self Legal
Aid
Private
Counsel
Appointed
Counsele
Homicide 0 69 31 0 16 (100 %)
Sexual Assault 4 56 37 2 91 (99 %)
Assaults excl. Common 14 51 30 5 940 (100 %)
Robbery 6 66 23 5 128 (100 %)
Break and Enter 10 67 20 3 437 (100 %)
Impaired Driving 32 24 36 8 756 (100 %)
Common Assault 23 46 24 7 572 (100 %)
Drugs excl. Simple Possession 11 42 44 2 88 (100 %)
Weapons Offences 17 47 27 9 97 (100 %)
Thefts and Frauds 20 56 15 8 1 293 (99 %)
Simple Possession of Drugs 33 29 35 3 75 (100 %)
Offences against Administration
of Justice
23 55 15 7 1 737 (100 %)
Public Order 26 37 34 3 165 (100 %)
Miscellaneous Criminal Code 34 42 17 6 221 (99 %)
Other Federal Statutes 14 62 16 8 213 (100 %)
Total 21 50 22 7 6 829 (100 %)

Notes
* Excludes cases for which representation at final appearance was unspecified in the file.


[11] The Appendix at the end of this chapter lists the types of individual offences included within each of the offence categories.

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