Criminal Lawyers’ Association acts against potential abuse of new bail hearing procedure

CLA hopes to track delays caused by the implementation of the new procedure

Criminal Lawyers’ Association acts against potential abuse of new bail hearing procedure

The Criminal Lawyers’ Association is encouraging defence lawyers to assist them in their opposition against inappropriate delays in the scheduling of bail hearings.

The CLA called attention to the possibility that a new practice direction for scheduling “lengthy” bail hearings could be abused and lead to delay,  spurring “significant constitutional concerns.”

On its website, the CLA urged defence lawyers across the province to make the following statements clear on the record:

  • “the defendant is statutorily (section 516(1)) and constitutionally (R. v. B.S. 2014 ONCA 527) entitled to have a bail hearing in a timely way and adjournments beyond 3 clear days are not permitted without the defendant’s consent.”
  • “the defendant does NOT consent to any longer adjournment, that he/she wishes to proceed with a timely bail hearing right away (assuming the defence is ready to do so) and any longer adjournment, even if resulting through a practice direction is nothing more than acquiescence to the inevitable, and not a truly voluntary consent.”

To address its concerns, the CLA has committed to tracking delay in the scheduling of bail hearings. In situations where “bail hearings (“lengthy” or otherwise) have been scheduled more than 3 clear days after the date that the scheduling of the hearing is addressed in Court,” lawyers are encouraged to email baildelay@criminallawyers.ca with certain relevant pieces of information, a list of which may be found in the CLA’s blog post.

The CLA, an organization of over 1,400 members united by the goal of being a “voice for criminal justice and civil liberties in Canada” said it has also approached the Chief Justice and the Associate Chief Justice to air the issues.

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