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Digest of the Week — Unreasonable Delay Triggers Stay of Proceedings

R. v. Clare |
2014 CarswellNS 807 |
Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Criminal law | Charter of Rights and Freedoms | Right to be tried within reasonable time [s. 11(b)] | Pre-trial delay

Accused was charged with domestic violence and harassment related charges — Trial was expected to be completed after 50 months had expired — Accused brought application for stay of proceedings under s. 11(b) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Application granted — Actions of accused contributed to delay of 19 months and 12 days however much of delay was caused by Crown disclosing it would call three or four witnesses on second day of trial — Trial judge ruled that late disclosure affected fairness of trial — Delay was not caused by complexity of case or demands on institutional resources — Accused did not waive his right to trial in reasonable time — Domestic violence charges are serious but much of delay was caused needlessly by Crown — It would still have taken approximately 30.5 months for this matter to come to trial, significantly in excess of guideline of 18 months and more than 21 months that would allow as reasonable estimate of inherent time requirements for this case to be brought to conclusion — Prejudice arose from delay.
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