How do I get disclosure for charges in Ontario? This is an excellent question, and I will do my best to answer this for you. In Ontario, first of all, I think you need to understand the word disclosure and what that means, what it describes. Disclosure is the evidence often called against a person when they’re charged.
So it’s a fancy legal word that’s dropped from time to time. That disclosure is usually held by the prosecutor. It’s created by the police, the investigating officer at the time. That could be something as simple as a speeding ticket and notes on the back of that ticket. That can be referred to as disclosure.
In a more complicated accident case there are other documents, witness statements and things like that as well as an accident report. All of that material is considered disclosure. It is important to know that you have a right to review that disclosure. Your representatives, such as someone from OTD Legal, has the ability to get that disclosure and review it in advance and properly prepare to defend you on whatever charge you may be facing.
So disclosure is considered to be something that is your right to obtain. You will find that it’s very, very tightly controlled by the crown or prosecutor. They only release it to certain persons and in certain conditions. For example, over the many years that I’ve been at this, I’ve noted that there are more and more redactions particularly when it comes to personal information.
For example, if there’s a witness in an accident case, the person that rear-ended you or the person that you hit, you’ll find in that disclosure that their name, address, phone number, and any details in their written statement identifying who they are, anything personal will be redacted.
What redacted simply means is someone’s put a line through it so you cannot read it. It is not legible. The disclosure itself when in its redacted form or unredacted form comes with many conditions. The first condition for any practitioner; myself or one of my colleagues, is we have to agree to see that disclosure, and only we can see that with the client, it cannot be reproduced. It cannot be shared with anyone else. Ironically, you would think if your own insurance company wants to see that disclosure, OTD legal should be able to invite them in to take a read of that disclosure. And that’s simply not true. We have no permission from the crown or prosecutor to do that, and we must not, cannot otherwise we have breached an ethical responsibility to the crown or the prosecutor.
How it’s obtained is simply; we are writing to the prosecutor, calling them. We have very strong relationships with literally all of the Crown’s offices across the province of Ontario. We’re very well known. Been here for years. Usually any one of us sending a quick email, we would be allowed to see that disclosure and it’ll be sent in a timely manner. If something’s missing upon that review we would order additional disclosure. It’s an important thing to keep in mind that it’s not as simple as just ordering that disclosure.
Sometimes things are missing. We’re gonna know that if we’re ordering that disclosure. So it is an important thing to keep in mind that you’re going to want to hire someone who knows what they’re doing so that we order the right disclosure and meaningful disclosure that’s going to help you win this traffic ticket.