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Diligence, Doing Right & Ingenuity

Posted on November 18, 2020

Ross Lutz Barristers Diligence Blog

How Atul Gawande’s book, Better: A Surgeon’s Note on Performance (Gawande, Atul, Metropolitan Books, April 3, 2007) should impact your lawyer to do the best for you when you are fighting a criminal charge.

Doctors face risk when they care for their patients. In the medical world, life or death can be on the line. They face ethical dilemmas and constraints on their resources. Finally, they are human and susceptible to committing human errors. How does Dr. Gawande’s ideas on being better impact you and what your lawyer should be doing for you?

Lawyers, like doctors, face risk when representing their clients. In the legal world, criminal convictions, employment impacts, social stigma, jail and possibly deportation can be on the line. Lawyers face ethical dilemmas and constraints on our resources. Finally, we are human and also susceptible to committing human errors. People accused of criminal charges face legal risk. If you are facing a criminal charge and ultimately get a conviction resulting in a criminal record, the life-long impacts can be devasting. Furthermore, jail and/or possible deportation could severely impact you or your family members. A criminal defence lawyer’s work faces nearly as much risk as a doctor’s does. We need to be diligent. We need to do right by you and by the administration of justice. Finally, we need to act with ingenuity for you.

Diligent Work

As lawyers, when we take on a criminal matter, we approach it meticulously and diligently. We build our defence step by step. This involves working with our client and may require further investigation. If this is the case, we retain a private investigator.

In a sexual assault matter, we took our client’s version of events and retained an investigator to assist. We gathered important evidence to show that the defendant was not guilty. We also prepared extensive written and oral arguments based on the body of laws and prior rulings and applied them to our case. Our client was found not guilty by the trial judge. This is one example of diligence.

Another example, in a sentencing context, is when our client instructed us to plead guilty. The Crown prosecutor asked the judge to give our client jail time. She argued the facts and applied the legal principles from the Criminal Code only. We took another approach. We submitted a written argument along with other documentation that ultimately resulted in a robust sentencing package. Because of our diligent work, the client got no jail time and walked away with no criminal record. Your lawyer should always act with diligence for you.

Ross Lutz Barristers Diligent Lawyers

Doing Right

How can your lawyer do right in your case? It starts by explaining how the law works and what legal arguments should be made and why.

Our first example is in the sexual assault context. Our client was charged with sexual assault contrary to the provisions in the Criminal Code. He maintained that he had consensual sex with the complainant and had done so on previous occasions. We explained the law of prior sexual history and how the evidence is presumptively inadmissible. We explained that we wanted to advance the argument that their prior sexual history should be admissible and that we should get to cross-examine the complainant on this prior sexual history. Sometimes there is a strategic reason for doing so, and it was applicable in this case. Ultimately, our client instructed us to make the application.

Another example of doing right can be found in a matter of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. In this case, the controlled substances were fentanyl and methamphetamine. These are Schedule 1 substances and, if convicted, result in a lengthy period of imprisonment. Since these are indictable offences, our client got to elect his mode of trial. We explained the options and gave legal advice to select Judge and Jury with a preliminary inquiry. Again, we gave this advice based on strategic reasons. Ultimately, our client instructed us as we advised, and our client walked away with no criminal charges at all.

Ingenuity

Having a lawyer act with ingenuity is not an easy task or an easy request. Some lawyers who have practiced for a long time get set in their ways. Sometimes because of their experience, they can “wing it.” Other lawyers who have not practiced very long don’t know enough to demonstrate ingenuity.

We have a young person who was charged with sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and invitation to sexual touching. If ever there is a time to demonstrate ingenuity it was in this case. It involved a family in a difficult circumstance. Other lawyers have gotten their backs up with the Crown prosecutors. Pounding the table and zealously advocating on your behalf is not the only approach we can take. Lawyers have a duty to zealously advocate for their clients. Acting with ingenuity means that pounding the table isn’t the only way to represent our clients and fulfill our duties. Instead, we offered another way to resolve the matter which resulted in no criminal charges and included restorative justice elements. These elements included an understanding on both parties about how our client’s actions caused a need to repair an injury as well as a commitment to involve everyone impacted in the response to crime.

Your lawyer should be obsessed in attempting to obtain excellence in his or her profession and to perpetually evolve so that they can obtain the best possible result for you. With so much on the line, you deserve a lawyer who is willing to fight for you and is committed to fighting in a better way than other lawyers have in the past. You have a stellar lawyer if your lawyer acts diligently, does right by you and always acts with ingenuity.

We are serious lawyers who defend serious charges. Call us today.