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preliminary hearing

A hearing conducted when you are accused of an indictable offence to make sure that the evidence is good enough to bring you to trial.



pre-trial hearing, pre-hearing conference ('judicial pre-trial')

A conference among the judge, the defence and the crown (often the defendant is not allowed to be there) to ensure a fair and speedy trial.



priors/prior convictions

findings of guilt which are on your criminal record.




A judge or a parole board can place you on probation when your sentence is suspended or you are out of jail early on parole. It ends when your sentence is up, or when you're sent back to jail for breaking a condition. Usually you have to see a probation officer regularly.



promise to appear

The form that the police give you when you have been arrested and taken into the station; it tells you what you're charged with and when and where you have to be in court to set a date for a trial. (See Appendix II, page 27.)



public airwaves

In a court case in Vancouver in 1992 (R. vs. Soloman), a judge ruled that cellular phone conversations cannot be considered private since they are broadcast on public airwaves.



public health order

Public health laws in Ontario empower medical officers of health (for each city or county) to place orders on people (such as quarantine) in order to prevent the spread of diseases. (See also anonymous HIV testing.)



public place

Is anywhere you might be seen — even if you're in a private place but can be seen through an open door or an uncovered window.




A promise which you make to a court that you will obey an order (without having to put up money), such as keeping the peace, paying a debt or appearing in court.

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