Let's Talk About: The Participants In The Criminal Justice System

Over the next few weeks, I will present a series of periodic blogs on the role of the main participants in the criminal justice system. Although a seemingly simple topic choice, to actually describe, define, and delineate these participants is a challenge.

We can all identify and recognize who they are: trial judge, prosecutor, defence lawyer, police, victim, and accused. But the real challenge comes in explaining what they do and why they do it. Often, the public perception of a participant's raison d'etre differs from the legal construct. It is when this disconnect occurs, when the public's expectations are unfulfilled, that cause public discontent with the criminal justice system.

These blogs will attempt to bridge the gap between society's assumptions and the legal requirements. This does means the discussion may reproduce the prototype of the participant, a general sketch or a likeness, which will not mimic every actual individual participant in the system. But, having a standard for which one can compare, will enhance our understanding of the criminal justice process.