The Crown is charged with the task of reducing the number of charges being tried in courts. Therefore, the criminal justice system has introduced “diversion” programs to divert first time and minor offenders away from the system.
The Direct Accountability Program (“DAP”) is one such program, specific to London, Ontario, and is run by the St. Leonard’s Society. If you are offered diversion through DAP, you are not obligated to accept that offer. You always have the right to proceed to trial if you do not agree with the charges.
However, DAP is often the most efficient and effective way of resolving charges. It requires voluntary participation by the alleged offender who accepts responsibility for the offence they’ve been charged with. This is different than a guilty plea, however.
If you agree to participate in DAP, you must meet with a DAP caseworker who will assign you tasks as part of your program. This might include volunteer hours, letters of apology, making a donation to the charity of your choice, or attending a conference or seminar.
You must complete the program to the satisfaction of the caseworker. Once your caseworker has signed off on your participation, the Crown withdraws the charge against you, thus ending your involvement with the criminal justice system.
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