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The Accused

In criminal court, a person who is accused of breaking the law is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rights of the Accused

During the trial, the accused has a number of rights:

  • the right to remain silent. The accused cannot be made to testify in his or her own trial
  • the right to a public hearing. In most cases, therefore, the courtroom will be open to the public
  • the right to represent him or herself in court and to conduct his or her own cross-examination. It is possible for the court to appoint a lawyer to conduct the cross-examination of the victim in certain circumstances
  • the right to hear all of the evidence presented in court. Adult witnesses will be required to testify with the accused in the same room, except in special circumstances.

Did You Know?
In Canada, there is no constitutionally protected right of the accused to 'face his or her accuser' in court.

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