The Crown is not proceeding with the criminal cases against a large number of the hundreds of people who were in court Monday on charges related to protests during June's G20 summit in Toronto.
Many of the first people to appear had their cases put over until the fall, and lawyers for the protesters expected the charges against roughly 75 people would be dropped, the CBC's Michelle Cheung said.
Crown attorney Vincent Paris could not confirm specifically how many cases would not proceed in court. A spokesman for the Attorney General's office said those numbers would not be available until Tuesday.
Some defendants were asked to post a peace bond, Paris said, where they agree to keep the peace for a year. Others had their cases settled through court diversion processes, where individuals are compelled to do charity work or give donations instead of going through the court process.
Such an outcome does not require an admission of guilt.
Still others had their charges withdrawn altogether, Paris said.
Most of those at the courthouse were making their first appearance, bail hearings excluded, he added.
Determining the reasonable prospect of conviction and the public interest in continuing a case is "entirely independent and different" from the police process of determining whether to lay charges or not, he said.
"And it's that gap that we have to address when we get to court on these first appearances," Paris said.
Special processes to handle crowds
The sheer number of people involved forced those working at the Ontario Court of Justice near Finch Avenue West and Highway 400 to adopt novel techniques to handle the situation.
"The three courtrooms that are processing the G20 protesters who have been charged are full," said Cheung, reporting from the scene. "It's standing room only."
A prescreening table was set up outside the courtroom to help process the people appearing Monday.
Some of those charged weren't even able to get into the courtroom — they had to be paged when the judge called for them, Cheung said.
With as many as 303 people set to appear Monday, police said it's one of the largest mass court appearances Toronto has ever seen.
Montreal-based activist Jaggi Singh, who remains under house arrest and has agreed not to participate in demonstrations while on bail, had his case put over until Sept. 27. Singh is facing several charges, including criminal conspiracy.
Natalie Gray, a B.C. activist who says she was hit by two rubber bullets during a G20 summit protest, said she was happy the charge against her was dropped, but she raised questions about the Crown's process.
"It seems very arbitrary [regarding]
whose charges are being dropped," said Gray, who had been facing a charge of obstructing an officer.
A group of activists held a news conference at 10 a.m. ET, in which they called for all the charges to be dropped.
"We insist that the ongoing criminal proceedings are expensive, unnecessary and flawed, and that these charges be dropped immediately," said Jessica Denyer, a Toronto activist.
The Toronto Community Mobilization Network, an activist umbrella group, is organizing a protest at Toronto Police headquarters later Monday.
The people appearing in court Monday are charged with a variety of offences related to the June 26-27 summit of G20 leaders, where several people dressed in black broke off from a peaceful protest and smashed store windows and torched at least five police cars.
Most of the people appearing Monday were arrested at a protest at the Ontario legislature on June 26, said a Toronto police G20 investigator, Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux.