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Defending Criminal Cases: Strategies and Approaches for Success

Our reputation for winning is built on our powerful representation, skillful advocacy, and unwavering pursuit of success for our clients.

Lawyers devote their entire careers to perfecting their craft, striving to improve their advocacy inside and outside the courtroom. When your future depends on the defence abilities of your lawyer, it is imperative that they possess the necessary skills to develop a compelling and persuasive defence on your behalf.

We have come to realise that there is not one, universal remedy for our clients and their charges. Every case is unique and thus needs a different strategy to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Having said that, there are some general strategies that make every defence more effective.

Our firm regularly employs the following strategies and approaches to win cases:

  • Exhaustive review and preparation
  • Challenging the credibility of dishonest witnesses
  • Seeking the exclusion of improperly obtained evidence
  • Pursuing the best defences 

Exhaustive review and preparation

Oftentimes, what makes or breaks a case is how prepared a lawyer is, and how well they have investigated a case. We have secured the withdrawals of countless cases in pre-trial proceedings by finding the evidence, or lack thereof, to persuade prosecutors to discontinue a prosecution. Successful lawyers are masters of persuasion, a title obtained by being able to effectively locate the facts and laws in support of the defence’s position. This skill allows us to win at trial, or even persuade prosecutors to fold prior to trial.

Challenging the credibility of dishonest witnesses

In court, judges frequently have to choose which witnesses to believe. In other words, they must evaluate each witness’ credibility. This can be a very challenging task. Judges do not have a special superpower that reveals to them who is telling the truth. They do, however, have experience and are able to figure who is credible by watching the cross examination of each witness. Particularly in cases of sexual assault, the outcome frequently depends exclusively on the reliability and credibility of the witnesses.

A competent attorney can challenge a witness’s credibility and reliability in a number of ways, including:

  1. Exposing inconsistencies
    It can be very challenging to determine if someone’s account of the incident is the truth However, inconsistencies in behaviour and memory can diminish a witness’ credibility. For instance, it can be a red flag to the judge if the witness alters their account of what they knew, saw, or heard. Evidence that a witness’ personal actions or behaviour contradict their testimony can also render their account suspect.

  2. Exposing perjury
    Lying in court, to the police, or in legal documents is against the law and is subject to perjury. Thus, establishing that a witness lied could damage that witness’ credibility, and help strengthen the defence. Would they tell lies to keep a loved one safe? Have they ever been caught lying to the police before? Do they have a criminal record, and are they attempting to strengthen their own defence? The legitimacy of the accusations made against you can be contested by pointing out that the complainant has perjured themselves.

  3. Exposing a disreputable character
    A witness’ moral character can also be scrutinized to establish that they are not a credible individual. Of course, no one is perfect, but there are several character traits that can make someone’s testimony less trustworthy. Examples of character defects that could make a witness’ evidence less credible include: criminal behaviour in the past, prior allegations of bad character, and a history of dishonesty. 

Seeking the exclusion of improperly obtained evidence

In a criminal case, excluding evidence means keeping specific facts from the record before the court. Evidence can be excluded when it is proven to the court that it was obtained as a result of an unlawful police action. It can be detrimental to the prosecution’s case and considerably more difficult to secure a conviction if evidence is excluded from a trial. If important evidence is suppressed, the prosecution may be forced to drop the case.

Evidence may be excluded if it is found that the state has violated one of Canada’s constitutional rights (also known as Charter rights). If a court finds that the police obtained evidence in a way that violated the rights or freedoms protected by the Charter, the evidence may be excluded. An experienced lawyer, one who is aware of all the relevant facts and laws, can get evidence excluded if they prove that its admission would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. 

There is a three-part test to determine if evidence should be excluded under s.24(2) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court must consider (1) the seriousness of the Charter infringing State conduct, (2) the impact of the violation on the Charter-protected interests of the accused, and (3) society’s interest in the adjudication of the case on its merits. If the court, after making an assessment by considering the three aforementioned factors, determines that the evidence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute, it will be excluded. 

Pursuing the best defences 

If your case does proceed to trial, you will want a Toronto criminal lawyer with a track record of convincing judges and juries to acquit their clients. Your trial lawyer must be knowledgeable in the law and possess the skills to persuade the jury that the defendant is not guilty. You are not required to establish your innocence during a criminal trial. Rather, you must demonstrate that the Crown prosecution cannot establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Since the defendant’s freedom is at stake, this task is extremely onerous. To decide whether someone committed a crime, the judge or jury must be morally certain that the accused is guilty. If there is even a hint of reasonable doubt in their mind, they are obligated to acquit the accused. To help secure an acquittal, there are a wide variety of defences available, depending the criminal charge in question. A good criminal lawyer knows what defences to pursue in order the maximize the chances for an acquittal. 

Toronto Criminal Lawyer

Alexander Karapancev is a seasoned criminal defence attorney in Toronto with offices both in the city’s legal district and in Mississauga. He is aware of the significant challenges that come with being charged with a serious crime. In these situations, both your professional and private lives can be affected. Throughout the GTA, Alexander represents his clients in Court with tenacity and professionalism. Please call our office right away if you need a top criminal lawyer in Toronto.

Picture of Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev is a Toronto criminal lawyer practicing throughout the province of Ontario. He regularly serves as lead trial counsel on serious and complex criminal cases. He is the founder of Karapancev Law, a law firm representing clients facing criminal charges, regulatory offences, and professional discipline proceedings.

Mr. Karapancev has acted as counsel in hundreds of cases throughout the province of Ontario, regularly representing clients at trials, applications, bail hearings and preliminary inquiries. He is regularly retained to defend individuals charged with serious allegations of fraud, drug trafficking, DUI offences, domestic assault, and sexual assault. Prior to founding his law firm, Mr. Karapancev practiced criminal defence at a boutique Toronto law firm and also served as a per diem Crown prosecutor.

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