Series S195 - Police Court case files

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Police Court case files

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  • Textual record

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Physical description

118 microfilm reels

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Administrative history

Under the 1886 Act of Incorporation, City Council was given authority to establish a Police Court and to appoint a Police Magistrate. The Police Magistrate was given the powers and authority of a Stipendiary Magistrate of the Province, which empowered him to rule on minor breaches of federal and provincial statutes, issue summonses and warrants, conduct release hearings and preliminary hearings for cases destined for higher courts. The Mayor, in addition to his powers as ex-officio Justice of the Peace, was given exclusive jurisdiction to try all cases relating to the bylaws of the city. In 1898 an amendment to the City Charter removed the Mayor's jurisdiction in these cases. The jurisdiction and powers of the Police Court remained relatively unchanged until 1962 when the Magistrates Act replaced the Police Court with a Magistrate's Court; the Police Magistrate and Deputy Magistrates became Magistrates. The former Police Magistrate was to be the administrator of the City Courts. The City was no longer required to provide office space for the Magistrates Court, this responsibility being taken over by the Provincial Government. In 1969, the Magistrate's Court became a Provincial Court of B.C., ending the City's administrative responsibility for the court.

Related Resources:
Board of Police Commissioners fonds; Police Department fonds.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Series consists of case files containing working documents arising from cases heard before the Vancouver Police Court. The contents of each file vary depending on the nature of the case. Most files contain a "Form of Information or Complaint of Oath" which records the dates of the offense and trial, name of the accused, nature of the offense, and the verdict. For thefts, further details of the crime are given. For appeals, files contain other documents such as the Conviction Sheet, Certificate of Conviction, City Police Department report, Warrant of Commitment, in addition to appeal documents such as Notice of Appeal. In some appeal cases, trial transcripts were generated and are included in the file. Arranged by date of hearing and case file number.

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Physical condition

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Location of originals

The original case files were transferred from the City of Vancouver Archives to the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General in 1980. The files were microfilmed for the Archives in 1984 and 1986. Gaps in the microfilmed case files are as follows: 69081, 18751-19500.

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Access to these records is restricted for 100 years from creation date, or 20 years after the death of relevant individuals, due to FOIPPA legislation. Records contain highly sensitive personal information about identifiable individuals. Researchers wanting access to this microfilm must complete an 'Access to restricted records' form and will be required to submit further information about the nature and purpose of their research. See archivist for details.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File list available.

Associated materials

Case file numbers correspond with numbers found in 'Presiding Magistrate’ column in Police Court court calendars of indictable offences (Series 184).

Related materials


General note

Researchers are advised that the Criminal Records Act allows pardoned offenders to have their criminal records sealed and removed from the public domain: any identification of offenders will require checking with the Minister of Justice, Ottawa.

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