In BC, most criminal offences are heard in the Provincial Court. For some serious offences, the accused has the choice to have their trial in Provincial Court or Supreme Court. Some of the most serious offences, like murder, must have their trial in Supreme Court.
Provincial Court trials never have a jury. In Supreme Court, the accused will usually have the choice between a judge alone trial, or a judge and jury trial. The Crown must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the accused committed the crime in order for the judge or jury to find the accused guilty. Beyond a reasonable doubt is a higher standard of proof than is used in civil law. This is to prevent people being convicted of crimes they did not commit.
Crime affects many people. The information below provides information and services for victims and witnesses of crime – as well as for those charged with a crime.
How a Criminal Trial Works
For those charged with a crime, this guide describes the arrest to trial process. Topics include: Disclosure, First Appearance, Cross-examination, Your Defense and The Verdict.
Your Voice in Criminal Court
This video educates victims and witnesses about the criminal court process. Produced for adult witnesses in Provincial Court, much of the information applies to appearing in Supreme Court.
Are you a victim of or witness to a crime in British Columbia? This website provides information on Services for Victims, Reporting a Crime, Criminal Charges, Going to Court and Sentencing.
BC’s criminal justice portal provides information and support services for victims of crime, family, youth, jurors, witnesses, the accused, offenders and more.
If You Can't Get a Lawyer for Your Criminal Trial
Booklet for people facing serious or complex criminal charges who have been denied legal aid, but cannot afford a lawyer. Explains why, how, and when to ask the judge to appoint a free lawyer.
LSLAP Manual: Criminal Law
This chapter on criminal law is from the manual used by Law Student’s Legal Assistance Program. It focuses on criminal procedure and case management. It also provides an overview of Charter rights in the criminal context, sentencing, and criminal records.