Ontario Criminal

Criminal Law

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Right to be tried within reasonable time [s. 11(b)]

Under Jordan framework for transitional cases, 24 1/2 month delay was reasonable

While driving at high rate of speed down residential street after night of drinking, accused lost control of his vehicle and collided with tree. Accused and his passenger were injured as result of accident. Accused was convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, but was acquitted of impaired driving causing bodily harm and driving with excessive alcohol causing bodily harm. Applying framework established in R. v. Morin, trial judge dismissed accused’s pre-trial application under s. 11(b) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that he was denied his right to be tried within reasonable time. After trial, R. v. Jordan established new framework for s. 11(b) applications, establishing presumptive ceiling of 18 months’ delay. Accused appealed conviction on basis that under Jordan framework, 31-month delay from laying of charges to trial was unreasonable and contrary to s. 11(b) of Charter. Appeal dismissed. This was transitional case to which Jordan framework applied. Trial judge properly applied Morin framework, thoroughly analyzed each of its components, and concluded that overall delay was reasonable. Trial judge found about eight months of defence delay. Adjournment of first trial date was necessary because Crown did not disclose to defence until shortly before scheduled trial expert report that police had in their possession for two years. Negligence in late disclosure of report caused six-month delay which was attributed to Crown. Resulting net delay of 24 1/2 months under Jordan was reasonable and did not warrant stay of proceedings for this transitional case. Defence showed no interest in moving case along. Delay caused little prejudice to accused. Moderate complexity of case bore on reasonableness of delay. On trial judge’s finding, institutional and Crown delay was 11 1/2 months, only slightly above Morin guideline. Under Jordan framework for transitional cases, 24 1/2 month delay was reasonable and did not deny accused his constitutional right to be tried within reasonable time.

R. v. Pyrek (2017), 2017 CarswellOnt 8930, 2017 ONCA 476, John Laskin J.A., David Watt J.A., and C.W. Hourigan J.A. (Ont. C.A.); affirmed (2015), 2015 CarswellOnt 8975, 2015 ONCJ 333, Paul F. Monahan J. (Ont. C.J.).

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