Compelling Appearance Matrix

AuthorSteve Coughlan/Alex Gorlewski
120 Police Powers / Compelling Appearance
1.3(a) Compelling Appearance Matrix
Prior judicial scrutiny Subsequent judicial scrutiny
Written notice Summons1Appearance notice/
promise to appear2
Physical control Arrest with a warrant3Arrest without a warrant4
There are a number of methods of seeing to it that a person who is accused of
an oence appears in court to answer to that charge. These are governed by
Part XVI of the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 [Code], “Compelling Appearance
of Accused Before a Justice and Interim Release.” Although this is not made
explicit, the methods are governed by two central criteria. First, sometimes
the police take action that will compel the accused to appear in court before a
judicial ocer scrutinizes the situation in any way, while on other occasions
police will seek judicial approval of the decision to compel appearance before
interacting with the accused. Second, sometimes police physically take con-
trol of a person and compel their appearance in that fashion, while sometimes
the person is issued a document requiring them to attend court at a particular
date of their own volition (which is not to say the choice is optional, of course).
Those two options combine to create four possibilities, which is what is
reected in this matrix. The decision to proceed might involve prior judicial
scrutiny or subsequent judicial scrutiny, and it might involve issuing a written
notice to the accused or taking physical control of the accused. Compelling ap-
pearance options correspond to each of these four possibilities. A summons
can be issued by a justice when a peace ocer satises the justice on reason-
able grounds that a person has committed an oence and should be compelled
to appear. The summons is a written notice served on the accused. An arrest
warrant is issued in the same fashion, but authorizes the ocer to take physi-
cal control of the accused. An appearance notice is issued by a peace ocer
directly to a person whom that ocer believes to have committed an oence,
and requires the person to attend in court to answer the charges (as does an
appearance notice; see note 2, below). Finally, a peace ocer who believes that
someone is committing an oence can, rather than issue an appearance notice,
physically take control of the person and arrest them without a warrant. Each
of these options is explained in greater detail below.
This chart aims to show the relationship between the various methods of
compelling appearance. Greater detail on the working of each method can be
found in charts 1.3(b), Compelling Appearance with Prior Judicial Scrutiny,
and 1.3(c), Compelling Appearance Without Prior Judicial Scrutiny.
A principle that is worked into the structure of the compelling appear-
ance provisions is that of restraint: a person’s liberty should only be interfered

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