Parliament did not intend to restrict court’s ability to review detention of accused

Supreme court | Criminal Law | Bail, interim release and detention | Review of detention order where trial delayed

Accused was arrested following high-speed car chase and charged with number of offences, including numerous firearm offences. Accused was already on bail for unrelated charges. Accused consented to detention without bail hearing. Accused pled guilty to outstanding unrelated charges and was sentenced to 14 months incarceration. When accused was no longer detained on any other matter, he unsuccessfully sought bail on firearm charges. Accused unsuccessfully brought review application on basis that judge saw no significant change to justify release. Accused pursued 90-day bail review under s. 525 of Code. British Columbia Supreme Court formulated two-step test for reviewing s. 525 hearing and on basis of test, accused’s detention order was confirmed. Accused appealed. Appeal allowed. Parliament did not intend to restrict court’s ability to review detention of accused at s. 525 hearing to situations in which there had already been unreasonable delay. Section 525 hearing was automatic procedure and mandatory obligations to make application and to fix date was with jailer and judge respectively. Ninety day period applicable to accused’s s. 525 hearing should have begun on November 26 2016, which was date of his s. 520 review. Section 525 imposed independent responsibility on reviewing judge to consider whether continued detention of accused was justified and established discretionary mechanism designed to prevent unreasonable delay and to expedite trials of individuals in remand.

R. v. Myers (2019), 2019 CarswellBC 658, 2019 CarswellBC 659, 2019 SCC 18, 2019 CSC 18, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Gascon J., Côté J., Brown J., Rowe J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); reversed (2017), Riley J. (B.C. S.C.).

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