Before your partner's trial, you may want to visit the courthouse to watch some other trials, to see what happens. The following agencies provide court preparation and court accompaniments you might find useful: Edmonton John Howard Society's Family Violence Prevention Centre, the Edmonton Police Service's Victim Services, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The Crown Prosecutor will present evidence to show the offence happened. You will be called as an important witness. Other witnesses such as neighbours, police, friends, or perhaps your doctor may be called.
Will my children be called as witnesses?
Not normally - your children won't have to testify unless it's absolutely necessary.
What does the defense lawyer do?
The process for the lawyer defending your partner is the same as it was for the Crown. The defense lawyer will present the accused's side of the story and will question the Crown's witnesses, including you. Often, the accused will be called as a witness. The defense lawyer's questions may be more difficult for you to answer than the Crown's. That's because it's the defense lawyer's job to question every part of your story. This can be a difficult process but try not to be frightened by his/her questions and continue to tell the truth.
In some cases, the accused may decide to defend them self without a lawyer. If that happens, you may have to deal with your partner questioning you when you testify.
After hearing the facts presented by both sides, the Judge will make a decision.
Why can the accused be found not guilty?
If the accused is found not guilty, it doesn't necessarily mean the Judge didn't believe you. Criminal trials follow strict rules of evidence, and the law says the accused has to be proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." Therefore it's important to remember that if the accused is found not guilty, it may be because of a lack of evidence or a point of law, not because the Judge thinks your abuse didn't happen.
In rare cases, the Crown will decide to appeal the Judge's decision. Later, the Appeal Court would make their decision based on all written notes taken at the original trial.
What happens if my partner is found guilty?
If your partner's found guilty, the Judge will decide what should happen ("sentencing"). Your Victim Impact Statement will be taken into consideration.