Procedural Defences In Murder Cases: Critical Considerations

March 22, 2024


In murder cases, procedural defences are crucial in ensuring a fair trial and just outcome. In Alberta, navigating the complexities of these defences requires the expertise of experienced legal professionals.

Murder lawyers in Edmonton are well-versed in the critical considerations surrounding procedural defences in murder cases, and their knowledge and guidance are invaluable in navigating the legal system.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of procedural defences in murder cases and the essential role that murder lawyers in Edmonton play in ensuring justice is served.

Overview Of Procedural Defences In Murder Cases

Murder is the most serious offence in the Criminal Code of Canada, and it carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. However, not every homicide is murder, and not every murder conviction is justified. Sometimes, the accused may have a valid defence that can reduce the charge to manslaughter or acquit them altogether.

These defences are procedural and are based on the principles of justice and fairness that govern the criminal justice system. Procedural defences differ from substantive defences, which focus on the offence’s elements or the accused’s mental state. Procedural defences challenge the legality or validity of the investigation, arrest, charge, trial, or verdict.

Key Considerations For Murder Lawyers In Edmonton

If you are facing a murder charge in Edmonton, you need a skilled and experienced lawyer for the defence against murder charges. Here are some key considerations for murder lawyers in Edmonton:

  • The type and degree of murder: There are two types of murder in Canada: first-degree and second-degree. First-degree murder is planned and deliberate or committed in the course of certain offences, such as sexual assault or kidnapping.
    Second-degree murder is any other intentional killing that is not first-degree.
  • The evidence and disclosure: Murder cases often involve much evidence, such as witness statements, forensic reports, video recordings, phone records, and DNA analysis. The Crown must disclose all relevant evidence to the defence, and the defence has a right to examine and challenge the evidence.
  • The defences and strategies: Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the defence may raise various defences and strategies to challenge the murder charge. These may include substantive defences, such as self-defence, provocation, intoxication, mental disorder, or procedural defences.

Importance Of Procedural Fairness In Murder Trials

Murder trials are the most serious and solemn proceedings in the criminal justice system. They involve the determination of life and death and affect the rights and interests of the accused, the victim, and the society. Therefore, murder trials must be conducted fairly and justly by the rule of law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Procedural fairness is the cornerstone of a fair and just trial. It means that the accused is entitled to a fair hearing before an impartial and independent judge or jury, with the assistance of a competent and diligent lawyer. It also means that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that the Crown bears the burden of proof.

Common Procedural Defences In Alberta Murder Cases

Procedural defences can be raised at any stage of the criminal process, from the investigation to the appeal. Here are some common procedural defences in Alberta murder cases:

  • Abuse of process: This is a defence that alleges that the conduct of the police, the Crown, or the court was so oppressive, unfair, or malicious that it violated the fundamental principles of justice and brought the administration of justice into disrepute.
  • Unreasonable delay: This defence alleges that the delay in bringing the accused to trial was so long and unreasonable that it violated the accused’s right to be tried within a reasonable time under section 11(b) of the Charter.
    The Supreme Court of Canada has set a presumptive ceiling of 30 months for trials in superior courts and 18 months in provincial courts from the charge to the end of the trial.
  • Unlawful search and seizure: This is a defence that alleges that the search and seizure of the accused’s person, property, or information was unlawful, either because the police did not have a valid warrant or because the police did not comply with the terms and conditions of the warrant.
  • Insufficient evidence: This is a defence that alleges that the evidence presented by the Crown is insufficient to prove the charge of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

About Daryl Royer

Daryl Royer, an experienced criminal defence lawyer based in Edmonton, Alberta, earned his law degree from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 2001. With over two decades of focused practice in criminal defence law, Mr. Royer has successfully handled a diverse range of cases, including murder, sexual assault, impaired driving, fraud, theft, and various other offences, spanning multiple judicial levels.

For effective legal representation in murder and assault cases, reach out to Daryl Royer, your trusted and experienced sexual assault defence lawyer in Edmonton.

Get A Free Consultation, Contact Daryl Royer Today

Get A Free Consultation Contact Us