An accused’s physical appearance and location in a criminal courtroom should affirm, not detract from, the presumption of innocence and the accused's inherent dignity. The design of a courtroom and the selection of any security measures must take into account these fundamental principles. The liberty of an accused should only be restricted to the extent necessary to preserve the security of the courtroom.

A trial judge must also ensure that the accused can participate meaningfully in the proceeding in order preserve the right to make full answer and defence. In addition to being able to observe and hear the witnesses, an accused must be able to communicate with counsel and should be provided with a pen and paper to take notes, if desired.

The accused’s presentation and treatment in court should send a message to the public that this is someone just like them – a fellow human being - who deserves a fair hearing without bias or prejudice. 

Useful references:

- "The location of a defendant in a courtroom is within the discretion of the trial judge. See R. v.  Levogiannis (1993), 85 C.C.C. (3d) 327 (S.C.C.). This discretion is to be exercised in a way that preserves the fairness of the trial and the security of the courtroom. ..." (R. v. Smith, [2007] O.J. No. 2579 (S.C.J.) at paragraph 19).

- "Absent the existence of a proven security risk, persons charged with a criminal offence should be entitled, at their option, to be seated with their counsel, rather than in the prisoner's dock. ..." (A recommendation from the The Kaufman Report on the wrongful conviction of Guy Paul Morin.)

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