The Direct Accountability Program is an alternative to formal prosecution for people who have been charged with minor criminal offences. The program involves accused persons being held accountable through community-based sanctions.
Anyone over the age of 18 years who is charged with a minor offence may qualify at the discretion of the Crown.
The Crown Attorney will notify the accused on or before their first court appearance if they are considered eligible. The accused then meets with the Community Justice Worker at the court. The Worker will gather information and complete an assessment to determine if the person meets the requirements of the Program.
Counsel or Duty Counsel can provide some information about eligibility. The accused should ask for legal advice from Counsel about their rights, the benefits of the program and the legal implications of agreeing to participate in the program.
To be considered eligible for the Program the accused must:
The Community Justice Worker’s assessment of you will include determining your ability and willingness to make amends for the offence. The Community Justice Worker will discuss the sanctions you are to complete and set a time limit to complete them.
By successfully completing the sanction(s) imposed, you can be held accountable for your behavior directly and can have the charge(s) withdrawn or stayed by the Crown.
Cases referred to the Direct Accountability Program can be resolved as quickly as the same day, but some cases may require an adjournment for a period of time for participants to fulfill the terms of their sanction(s).
Participation is voluntary. People who are not accepted into the Program or who don’t successfully complete the Program will be returned to the formal court process.
No, the program is offered at no charge. Participants, however, may be expected to pay restitution or make a charitable donation as part of their assigned sanction.
Although there is no conviction following successful completion of the program, records of participation are kept for two years and can be brought forward if the accused re-offends during this period.