Disclosure is the package which contains the Crown’s evidence against you. Initial disclosure is typically provided to an accused person during their first court appearance. It may consist of a record of arrest, video footage, synopsis of the allegations, police notes and witness statements. In Canada you have the constitutional right to make a full answer and defence to any criminal or quasi-criminal allegations made against you – this means the prosecution must provide you with a copy of each and every piece of evidence that it intends to use against you to prove its case (see Stinchcombe). It is crucial that you provide your lawyer with every page of disclosure that has been given to you in court, in addition to any other paperwork provided by the police.
It is not uncommon for disclosure to incomplete after the First Appearance. Your lawyer will carefully review the materials and request any outstanding materials from the crown attorney’s office. The disclosure is extremely important as it sets out the allegations against you and the basis for the criminal charges you are facing. After a comprehensive review of your disclosure, your lawyer will advise you of potential defences, constitutional applications and other evidentiary issues which may affect your case. After your lawyer has reviewed the disclosure he/she will schedule a meeting with the crown attorney, known as a “Crown Pre-Trial” or “CPT”.