In a criminal proceeding the Crown attorney has an obligation to disclose all relevant information to the defence lawyer. The information is known as "disclosure." The Crown's obligation to disclose all relevant information is an ongoing process, meaning if they received new information it will be provided to your lawyer, ensuring that there is no "trial by surprise."
Sometimes, upon review of the disclosure and meetings with the client, more information is required either from the police officers or from a third party. If the information is from a police officer, a formal request for additional disclosure will be made. If the information is from a third party, a witness subpoena will be served in order to obtain this information.
If the information is obtained through a witness subpoena, depending on the type of criminal case involved, a specialized hearing in front of a Judge may be required to determine if the defence is entitled to obtain or view the requested information. Such applications are known as a "third party records applications" and may require careful navigation of complex portions of the Criminal Code, such as sections 276 and 278. These applications are typically triggered when the document(s) required contains information about a witness or complainant that has a degree of privacy attached to it. Although there are some barriers to these applications, the court will accept reasonable requests based on facts or premises that are legally permissible.
At Paul Lewandowski Criminal Law we have successfully represented many clients at third party records hearings. We are known to be meticulously prepared and to rigorously defend our clients in ensure justice is done.