What if my spouse does not attend court for trial?

The Crown Attorney’s office will subpoena all witnesses they need for the trial. Sometimes, witnesses do not want to testify and will ignore the subpoena.

If the complainant does not attend court after they have received a subpoena, the Crown has a few options: they can continue the trial without the witness; they can ask the police to try to find them and pick them up at work or at home; or they can ask for a warrant to arrest the them.

Sometimes, the Crown may be able to pursue the trial without the complainant, like when an independent witness has made a statement to police. In this case, the Crown may decide to start the trial without the complainant and issue a new subpoena, or they may continue without the complainant altogether.

Other times, the Crown will ask police to track down the complainant and pick them up at home or at work. If the complainant can be found, judges will sometimes allow for a brief adjournment of the case to later in the day, until the complainant is found and brought to court.

Finally, the Crown may ask for a witness warrant. If the crown succeeds in their request for a witness warrant, the trial will be postponed to another day. A warrant for your spouse will be issued, and they may spend time in jail until a judge decides if they can be released, and on what terms.

If the complainant attends the trial but refuses to testify, they will likely be held in contempt of court and can possibly serve jail time until they agree to testify. The trial date will again be adjourned to another date, and they will again be served with a subpoena that will require them to testify.

Filed Under
Domestic Assault