Plea of Not Guilty and Other Pleas
Besides a plea of guilty, there exist pleas of "not guilty", "autrefois acquit", and "autrefois convict".
Plea of Not Guilty
The plea of "not guilty" will encompass any plea alleging a defence other than autrefois acquit or autrefois convict. Section 613 states:
Plea of not guilty
613 Any ground of defence for which a special plea is not provided by this Act may be relied on under the plea of not guilty.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 541.
In addition to substantive defences, this plea will also cover pleas of:
- Kienapple / res judicata
- Issue Estoppel (see below)
Refusal to Plead
Where an accused refuses to make a plea or otherwise does not answer the question of plea, the presumption is that a plea of not guilty will be entered into the record (s. 606(2)).
Res Judicata and Related Pleas
Other Special Pleas
A plea of nolo contendre (latin for “I am unwilling to contest”) is a plea recognized in US law, but does not have any foundation in Canadian criminal law. It is prohibited by virtue of s. 606(1) which lists all valid pleas. A guilty plea that in substance amounts to a plea of nolo contendre will be invalid.
- R v RP, 2013 ONCA 53 (CanLII) at para 38
- RP, ibid.
Special Plea for Defamatory Libel
Not Guilty Plea By Young Persons
When young person pleads not guilty
(2) If a young person charged with an offence pleads not guilty to the offence or pleads guilty but the youth justice court is not satisfied that the facts support the charge, the court shall proceed with the trial and shall, after considering the matter, find the young person guilty or not guilty or make an order dismissing the charge, as the case may be.