Though many in the Greater Toronto Area may think a criminal defence lawyer’s job is to clear a defendant’s name, that is only part of the job. A big part of a defence lawyer’s work is protecting his or her client’s rights. From police to prosecutors, a defendant’s rights could be violated at any time. Working to prevent any such violation and protesting when the defendant’s rights are infringed upon is an important part of making sure a defendant gets the fairest trial he or she can.
Even when a defendant chooses to plead guilty, it is the defence lawyer’s job to explain to the defendant his or her rights and exactly what rights will be given up when he or she enters a plea. A lawyer also is tasked with protesting unfairly long sentences.
Fortunately for a young man from Toronto, he had a defence lawyer when he pled guilty to trafficking an illegal drug. The 22-year-old was arrested in Sudbury and, at the police station, it was discovered that he had a total of 10.5 grams of crack cocaine unevenly divided between three baggies. In the apartment in which he was arrested, police found a digital scale, packaging materials and a cellphone. It does not appear, however, that there was any other illegal drugs in the apartment.
It was the young man’s choice to plead guilty and he was recently sentenced to one year in jail. Once released, he will also be on probation for 18 months, will never be able to purchase a weapon or ammunitions, and he must provided a sample of his DNA for the National DNA databank.
The Sudbury Star, “Toronto crack dealer caught in Sudbury,” Harold Carmichael, Feb. 13, 2014