top of page
  • How to choose your Lawyer?
    It is imperative that you choose a lawyer that you can take comfort and have confidence in. When facing criminal charges, the lawyer you choose may hold your liberty and livelihood – both personal and professional- in their hands. For this reason, you must select a lawyer that you trust is fully capable of handling your matters with competence, courage, and compassion. It is paramount that you choose someone with whom you can have a full and frank discussion. It is no exaggeration to say that your lawyer should feel like your last best friend.
  • What are my rights upon arrest?
    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone the right, upon arrest or detention, to “be informed promptly of the reasons therefor.” This requires police to make individuals aware, in clear and simple language, about every offence they are under investigation for, as well as any significant changes in the nature of the investigation.[1] The Charter also guarantees the right to “retain and instruct counsel without delay, and to be informed of that right.”[2] The police must inform the detained individual of this right ‘without delay.’[3] This right prevents the police from obtaining self-incriminating statements from any detained person until that person has made a decision whether or not to speak to a lawyer. If the individual wishes to exercise that right and speak with a lawyer, the police must provide them with a reasonable opportunity to do so.[4] The purpose of these two complementary rights is to ensure that individuals receive prompt legal advice that is relevant to the situation at hand. If you feel that your rights upon arrest have not been respected, we would be glad to provide you with a free consultation regarding possible avenues of resolve. [3] R v Debot, [1989] 2 SCR 1140 at 1163-64. [4] R v Sinclair, 2010 SCC 35 at paras 24-26; R v Manninen, [1987] 1 SCR 1233 at 1242-43.
  • Can the police search my vehicle?
    Under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, everyone has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. This means that the police cannot search you or your vehicle without a reason to do so. This is because you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your vehicle and on your person. Where you enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy, in order to perform a search, the police must have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed, and that evidence of the offence will be found in the place to be searched.[7] [7] Hunter v Southam, 1984 CanLII 33.
  • What is Bail?
    Individuals who are arrested and not released by the police must be brought before a justice within 24 hours for a bail hearing.[8] Besides the determination of guilt or innocence, the decision whether to detain or release an accused person awaiting trial is the most significant in the criminal process. Accused persons who remain detained until their trial date may be negatively impacted in terms of employment, living arrangements, personal relationships, and the ability to properly prepare a defence. If you are granted release (bail) before your trial date, you may be required to abide by certain conditions. Failure to abide by these conditions could result in your bail being revoked, or further charges being laid against you. At Sprake & Co., our goal is to craft a bail plan that imposes the least restrictions possible on the liberty and daily lives of our clients. We work cooperatively and creatively to craft conditions that we are confident the courts will accept, and that our clients can comply with. [8] Criminal Code, s. 503(1)(a).
  • Do I get to know about my charges?
    The Crown has an ongoing obligation to disclose every relevant and material fact of the case to the accused. [9] This means that the Crown is required to provide you with every piece of information in their possession, whether good or bad for your case, subject to very few exceptions. This means you will be provided with all of the documents, statements, and media pertaining to your case. These materials are known as disclosure. The purpose of providing disclosure is to allow you to make a full answer and defence to the case being brought against you. At Sprake & Co., we provide our clients with a full and thorough review of all disclosure materials. In addition to having our team review the disclosure ourselves, we regularly sit down with clients to review the material jointly. We believe that it is essential to meticulously scrutinize these materials in order to gain the fullest understanding of the case to meet, and to prepare the best defence possible. [9] R v Stinchcombe, [1991] 3 SCR 326 at 338.
  • What happens at my first court apprearance?
    We understand that dealing with these matters can place your private life and personal issues under the microscope. Our approach is to diminish any difficulties that can come with defending criminal charges by minimizing unnecessary stressors and publicity associated with your case. We do this by making ourselves available through ongoing consultation and counselling pertaining to your case. We also arrange to make all court appearances for you (except when your attendance is necessary). It is our utmost priority to ensure that our clients are matters are dealt with professionally and expeditiously, while minimizing the limelight.
  • How should I prepare for my first meeting with my lawyer?
    If you have already been provided with disclosure, it would be beneficial to have reviewed those materials before your first meeting with a lawyer. By reviewing the disclosure materials, you will obtain a fuller understanding of the case against you and the case to meet. This will allow you to point out any inconsistencies or contentious issues during the first meeting and will allow your lawyer to expedite work on your case. Bring all these documents and anything else you may have received from the police or the Crown to this first meeting. It may also be helpful to prepare a written statement of your version of events. If you choose to do this, it is imperative that you label this statement: PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL – FOR MY LAWYER. This will ensure that this statement cannot ever be used as evidence in the case against you should it ever be misplaced.


Major Sexual Assault: a sexual assault becomes a major sexual assault where it is of the nature that a reasonable person could foresee that it is likely to cause serious psychological or emotional harm, whether or not physical injury occurs. It includes, but is not limited to, non-consensual vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus.[10]

SOIRA: is an acronym for the Sex Offender Information Registry Act.[11] Upon being sentenced for a ‘designated offence,’ the judge is required to impose a ‘SOIRA order,’ which requires the offender to report to the closest registration center for a specified period of time.[12] This order is mandatory, unless the offender can show that such an order would be grossly disproportionate to the public interest in protecting society through effective investigation of crime.

Bail: also referred to as ‘judicial interim release.’ Bail describes the status of a person’s detention before trial.

Consent: the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage with the sexual activity in question.[13]



[10] Ibid., at para 171.

[11] Sex Offender Information Registry Act, S.C. 2004, c. 10 (“SOIRA”).

[12] R v Redhead, 2006 ABCA 84 at para 15.

[13] Criminal Code, s 273.1; R v Hutchison, 20

bottom of page