Canada's Court Structure

AuthorLoree Armstrong Beniuk, Jo-Anne Hughes, and Jack Reynolds
Canada’s Court Structure
e British Columbia Court of Appeal held that the rights of the accused were not
prejudiced by the closure of the courtroom to the public at the trial during the testi-
mony of one of the complainants. e complainant’s mother and a therapist both
gave evidence that the witness had been disturbed and distressed at the preliminary
inquiry by the presence of strangers, including the family of the accused, and by
other related events outside the courtroom at school. On the basis of the evidence,
the trial judge formed the opinion that the witness was “fragile from an emotional
point of view” and excluded the public from the courtroom. e Court of Appeal
held that although the complainant had given her evidence in an open courtroom
at the preliminary inquiry that was not conclusive because it was as a result of that
experience that the complainant had become disturbed and distressed. It was also
held that the discretion aorded a trial judge to exclude the public in the interest of
the proper administration of justice “may well be exercised even though a witness
may with great diculty be able to give evidence in public.
— Anna Maleszyk, Crimes Against Children
In Canada, justice system jurisdiction is divided between the federal, prov-
incial, and territorial governments.1 There are superior, provincial, and
territorial courts. The federal government determines the content of the
criminal law and has the exclusive authority to appoint and pay the judges
of the superior or upper-level courts in the provinces and territories. Parlia-
ment also has the authority to establish a general court of appeal and courts

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