This weekend our firm attended the Old City Hall “WASH” Court that handles all bail hearings for weekend arrests. What many people don’t know is that most, if not all, criminal jurisdictions are open every day of the year so that they can accommodate people who are newly arrested, regardless of the day it happens. This includes weekends and statutory holidays (hence the acronym “WASH”). For example, if a person is arrested on the weekend anywhere in Toronto, they are taken to the Old City Hall courthouse which handles the entire Toronto Region. There are similar WASH courts for every jurisdiction including York, Hamilton, Peel, and so on. This is particularly important around the holiday season that is coming up where the Court will go for many consecutive days without regular sittings. Without the assistance of WASH bail court, those people would remain in custody, and in most instances, unnecessarily.
Why WASH Bail Court exists:
The reason courts are available on holidays and weekends is a product of section 503 of the Criminal Code of Canada which reads:
503. (1) A peace officer who arrests a person with or without warrant or to whom a person is delivered under subsection 494(3) or into whose custody a person is placed under subsection 163.5(3) of the Customs Act shall cause the person to be detained in custody and, in accordance with the following provisions, to be taken before a justice to be dealt with according to law:
(a) where a justice is available within a period of twenty-four hours after the person has been arrested by or delivered to the peace officer, the person shall be taken before a justice without unreasonable delay and in any event within that period, and
(b) where a justice is not available within a period of twenty-four hours after the person has been arrested by or delivered to the peace officer, the person shall be taken before a justice as soon as possible,
(unless that person is released on an undertaking to a peace officer or upon a summons).
If anyone of your friends, colleagues, or family members find themselves arrested over the holidays, weekends, or any time at all for that matter, the lawyers at Robichaud’s are available 24 hours a day for emergencies at (416) 999-8389. We will happily provide you more guidance and advice so that no one spends a second more time in custody than they need to.
…and to answer the question many of you may have: yes our client was released thanks to the talented representation of associate of Ismar Horic.