Department of Justice (Drug Courts) Disclosure Pilot Project (Synopsis)

Toronto Police Service

Description: The Department of Justice (Drug Courts) Disclosure Pilot Project was launched in 2004 to address issues with the timeliness of the drug evidence disclosure process, which was not meeting the requirements of the courts. The Toronto Police Service worked with the federal Department of Justice and Health Canada to develop a new federal disclosure compliance and delivery system for drug courts. The project involved creating a new business system to track evidence disclosure and case status for drug court cases. Under the new system, disclosure teams provide a centralized contact for both police and Crown attorneys. Toronto Police Service disclosure clerks request and collect disclosure items, creating a complete package to be submitted to the Crown. The clerks then work with Crown case managers and a divisional case tracker to manage cases. The clerks track any missing elements of the disclosure package on the Toronto Police Service internal network, where officers can check their cases for missing disclosure pieces.
Objective: This project has several objectives: create a new business system to track evidence disclosure and case status; streamline the delivery of evidence disclosure to the Department of Justice within acceptable timelines; and reduce the number of cases withdrawn due to insufficient evidence disclosure compliance.
Outcomes: Since this pilot project was implemented, there have been dramatic improvements in the quality, quantity and timely delivery of drug evidence disclosure to the Crown and the courts. An evaluation of this program identified a substantial improvement in disclosure compliance. Prior to the pilot project, the incidence of timely and accurate disclosure delivered to the Crown was estimated at 25%. During the first six months of the pilot, this rate increased to 76%. Before the pilot, the Department of Justice held cases for an average of two to three months prior to final approval; during the pilot, this was reduced to an average of 24 days. Health Canada (which is required to test all exhibits) has been able to reduce its workload significantly by diverting an estimated 18% of exhibits from the testing requirement when cases conclude early. The use of technology has reduced the investigative workload and increased efficiencies.
Resources: The set-up costs for this initiative included three clerical support positions (approximately $36,400 per position annually), a screener/court officer (approximately $50,000 annually), a detective position (approximately $78,700 annually), one police constable (approximately $69,400 annually) and the costs of computers, furniture and stationary (approximately $10,000) for a total estimated cost of $317,000.
Province: Ontario
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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