A packed house and a full docket were the order of the day for the “Strictly Provincial Offences CPD,” July 20.
The full agenda and slate of speakers went into overtime at the North York Central Library, as attendees and online participants got the low-down on POA procedures, strategies and challenges. The course is designed for those who want a refresher on their current practice area, paralegals transitioning into POA work, and new licensees considering taking on work in the wide and varied sector.
Speakers included: Part III prosecutor Claude Gelbard, paralegals Stephen Parker and Joe Kippax, criminal defence lawyer Jessyca Greenwood and paralegal candidate Amber Smart.
Among the lively question-and-answer segments, amendable versus fatal flaws on Notices of Offence and Certificates were addressed early. Participants got nitty-gritty details from the experts on such common issues as how various flaws affect strategy, and which leading cases paralegals should know.
Leading cases related to issues such as delays, Charter challenges, elements of an offence, limitation periods, equipment testing, disclosure requests and identification, are included in the materials that will be available online for CPD registrants.
Speakers outlined their “best practises” and suggestions for handling POA cases, primarily Highway Traffic Act offences. Speakers stressed developing possible defences early, including making documented, thorough and specific disclosure requests. “Be diligent and work the file,” they said. “You can breathe life into a dead file just by working it.”
Parker and Gelbard brought their police and prosecutor experience to the CPD, outlining the practical effects of certain situations, such as dates of service, out of court amendments and essential elements on documents.
Sedulous case management is important — including managing client expectations. “Report to the client so the client knows something is happening with their case. It could be eight or nine months before the court date.”
Greenwood offered her advice on witness examination and handling appeals. Cross-examination is an opportunity to put the theory of defence into action, she said. “Be prepared to continue with that theory,” she advises. “Look for contradictions in testimony and tell the court this evidence is not reliable for these reasons.”
Other speakers agreed with Ms. Greenwood’s advice to always prepare an on-point and well-written factum and book of cases before the appeal. Don’t just list cases — refer to specific passages in the transcript and address how your cases are relevant to that particular evidence, they advise.
“Make it easy for them to find in your favour,” Greenwood said.
Kippax and Smart spoke to the need to mentor and be mentored, to understand the nuances of POA and HTA work. “Having mentors is the only way I made it through the transition” from other areas of practice to POA, Kippax said.
Strictly Provincial may be continued on another date to be announced. Meantime, the CPD will be available later in July, from the CPD On-Time site.