Part 1 Motions, Arraingments And Pleas


During Trial you will have three separate opportunities to enter pleas and motions:

  • before the arraignment;
  • after the arraignment; and
  • after a plea has been entered.

Timing is important.

Preliminary Motion - Before The Arraignment

When your case is called, the prosecutor will say "Joe Blow, come forward".

At this point you will make a preliminary motion by going up to the defence seat, remaining standing and say, "Your Worship, I would like to ask for an adjournment of this matter to another date because..." At this point you can ask for an adjournment to change your trial date. Acceptable reasons are that a sudden emergency illness has prevented a witness from attending or that the prosecutor has failed to give adequate disclosure and you need more time to prepare a proper defence. In the latter situation, you should make clear that the delay is the fault of the prosecutor, not you and it should not count against you in an application to stay the proceedings (covered under Step 4).

Your strategy here is to claim that the delay was generated by the prosecution's inability to provide adequate disclosure in a timely manner. Since it's already taken so long to come to trial, by delaying even further, you strengthen your argument for a stay of proceedings. Remember, the longer it takes, the stronger your argument. It may be appropriate here to mention that if the delay has already taken a considerable amount of time it may be more advantageous to you to simply ask for a stay of proceedings (below) rather than an adjournment.

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