Role of the Manitoba Prosecution Service

The Manitoba Prosecution Service deals with the following areas, described below:

Prosecution of criminal offences in Manitoba

Manitoba Prosecution Service is responsible for the prosecuting most offences in Manitoba. These offences are identified in provincial statutes, the federal Criminal Code of Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The Crown attorney’s job

Crown attorneys are prosecutors. In Canadian criminal law, the accused is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to convict, there must be evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence. The Crown attorney is responsible for presenting evidence before the court for a fair and just determination of the case.

Deciding to prosecute

When a matter goes to trial, the crown attorney's role is to present the evidence fairly. Before that can happen, the Crown attorney, based on the evidence, must consider two important factors: whether there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction and, whether the prosecution is in the public interest. If a Crown attorney does not believe the evidence supports a conviction, he or she will not prosecute. The Crown attorney is not the victim's lawyer nor is he or she the lawyer for the police or complainants. Rather, a Crown attorney's duty is to ensure that justice is served by presenting all available legal proof of the facts to the court.

The Crown attorney’s Responsibilities to Victims of Crime

Crown attorneys have a responsibility to treat victims of crime with compassion and respect. As much as is practicable, Crown attorneys strive to be mindful and sensitive to the needs and wishes of victims. For example,

  • Where appropriate, in serious violent offences, Crown attorneys will make attempts to find out the concerns of the victim and family and incorporate this information into the Crown's submission to the court at bail hearings.
  • Whenever possible, Crown attorneys will interview victims in sensitive cases prior to court hearings.
  • Crown attorneys make all reasonable attempts to arrange for appropriate interpreters to meet the language needs of victims at court hearings.
  • Where reasonably possible and upon request, the Crown attorney will keep victims informed about the status of the case.
  • In all cases where it is appropriate and realistic Crown attorneys will seek an order of restitution or compensation on behalf of the victim. The Crown attorney will inform the victim regarding the kinds of evidence (for example, invoices, etc.) required to support an application to the court for restitution or compensation.

Often, Crown attorneys call upon Victims' Services staff of Manitoba Justice to explain the prosecution process to the victim. These staff members prepare victims for court appearances and keep them informed of progress on their case. For more information on the rights of victims and The Victims' Bill of Rights which creates a broad and enforceable set of rights for victims of selected criminal and provincial statute offences click here.

Appealing a decision

Sometimes a verdict, sentence or order made by a judge will be appealed by either the Crown or the accused. An appeal is a request to a higher court to change a decision made by a lower court.

The Crown may appeal a not guilty verdict, or a sentence, if it believes the judge made an error in applying the law. Similarly, the defence may appeal a guilty verdict or a sentence it believes is too harsh.