2.10 Application of the PPSC Deskbook in Respect of Canada Elections Act Prosecutions
Public Prosecution Service of Canada Deskbook
Guideline of the Director Issued under Section 3(8) of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act
August 26, 2016
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. The DPP’s Authority to Issue Guidelines
- 3. Application of PPSC Deskbook to Canada Elections Act Prosecutions
The purpose of this guideline is to provide guidance to federal prosecutors conducting prosecutions under the Canada Elections Act.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is independent in his or her decision-making with respect to prosecution functions but remains accountable to the Attorney General, who, in turn, is answerable to Parliament for the DPP’s activities. That accountability, however, does not extend to the DPP’s authority to initiate and conduct prosecutions under the Canada Elections Act, which is conferred by subsection 3(8) of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act (DPP Act).Footnote 1
By virtue of that subsection, these prosecutions are not conducted under the authority of the Attorney General, nor can the Attorney General issue directives with respect to, or take over these prosecutions. As a result, a distinctive regime is required under the DPP’s authority to issue guidelines in relation to Canada Elections Act prosecutions.
2. The DPP’s Authority to Issue Guidelines
For all prosecutions other than those under the Canada Elections Act, the Attorney General has the authority to issue directives both with respect to the initiation or conduct of prosecutions generally under s 10(2) of the DPP Act. Similarly, s 3(3)(c) of the Act provides the Director of Public Prosecutions with the power to issue guidelines respecting the conduct of prosecutions under the authority of the Attorney General.
As the Attorney General has no authority over Canada Elections Act prosecutions, neither the directive or guideline power under ss 3(3)(c) or 10(2) of the DPP Act extends to Canada Elections Act prosecutions. Accordingly, the Director’s prerogative to issue guidelines in respect of elections prosecutions stems from the Director’s supervisory authority over federal prosecutors.
3. Application of PPSC Deskbook to Canada Elections Act Prosecutions
Other than the specific exceptions noted below, federal prosecutors, when initiating and conducting prosecutions on behalf of the Crown with respect to offences under the Canada Elections Act,Footnote 2 as well as any appeal or other proceeding related to such prosecutions, are to be guided by the policies and guidelines for the exercise of prosecutorial authority as set out in Volume I of this Deskbook.
Accordingly, for prosecutions under the Canada Elections Act, the following chapters of the PPSC Deskbook:
- do apply (except that references to the Attorney General and to the Attorney General’s powers and responsibilities under the DPP Act are not applicable):
- Part II (Principles Governing Crown Counsel’s Conduct);
- Part III (Procedural Issues and Trial Practice);
- Part IV (Evidentiary Issues);
- Part V, Chapters 5.4 (Youth Criminal Justice), 5.6 (Victims of Crime); and Chapter 5.9 (Private Prosecutions) with the caveat that the initiation of any prosecution under the Canada Elections Act requires the written consent of the DPP: see s 512(1) of that Act;
- Part VI, Chapter 6.6 (Charitable Donations).
- do not apply:
- Part I (Roles of the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions);
- Part V (chapters 5.1 (National Security), 5.2 (Competition Act), 5.3 (Proceeds of Crime), 5.5 (Domestic Violence), 5.7 (Impaired Driving Cases), 5.8 (Corruption of Foreign Public Officials) and 5.10 (Parental Child Abduction);
- Part VI, chapters 6.1 (Drug Treatment Courts), 6.2 (Mandatory Minimum Penalties for Particular Drug Offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act), 6.2.1 (Supplementary Guideline on Mandatory Minimum Penalties for Certain Drug Offences Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act), 6.3 (Statutory Restrictions on the Use of Conditional Sentences), and 6.4 (Mandatory Minimum Penalties under the Criminal Code), 6.5 Process for Presumptively Eligible Status for a Dangerous Offender or Long Term Offender Designation.
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