Provincial Court

Court Process

As noted previously, there are two FVICs in the province; a permanent court in St. John's and a pilot court in Stephenville. These two courts have some differences in how they operate.

St. John's: When the police lay a charge in family violence matters, the accused may be required to appear on a Thursday at 2pm. This allows part of the FVIC team to be available to speak to the accused, who may have questions about the court. If the accused wishes to learn more about the court, meeting times will be arranged with a team member of the FVIC. This team member will be either the Risk Assessment Officer or the defense lawyer. Both are from Legal Aid and the accused will be able to speak with them privately. Anything discussed with them is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone else without your consent. This promise of confidentiality is known as solicitor-client privilege. After this brief discussion, if the accused would like to know further about the FVIC an appointment time can be arranged where the accused can meet with the Risk Assessment Officer and the lawyer from Legal Aid.

Stephenville: The police will usually set a family violence matter for an accused on Monday at 1:30pm. The accused, the judge and the Legal Aid lawyer will be in the courtroom. As the court operates with the use of technology, the Crown Attorney and Risk Assessment Officer appear by video link. The Legal Aid lawyer will speak with the accused briefly about FVIC before court, if at all possible, and will advise the judge if the accused would like to know more about the process. If so, the Rick Assessment Officer will make an appointment with the accused and travel to Stephenville to meet with them. The accused would have solicitor-client privilege with both the lawyer and Risk Assessment Officer.

Once the accused (in either St. John's or Stephenville) has met all of the eligibility requirements and decides to participate, they will appear in FVIC and enter a guilty plea. An agreed statement of facts will be read to the court. Following a guilty plea and a finding of guilt by the judge, the case will be adjourned for sentencing until the accused finishes the family violence programming. The accused will be released on conditions as recommended by counsel and determined by the judge, including a condition that they participate in family violence programming and return to court for periodic updates. Throughout this period, the accused will be required to meet with the Bail Supervisor who will provide the Family Violence Intervention Court with updates on the progress of the accused.