Another drug case was thrown due to delay in the Brampton courthouse, another judge called a federal prosecution service for failing to disclose timely evidence to the defense.
High Court Judge David E. Harris has so far described what happened in the case of drug imports as "Crown negligence," according to a decision issued on Christmas Eve. He continues to handle cases against Chanelle Belle, who was indicted in October 2016 by importing seven kilograms of cocaine through Pearson International Airport and was originally supposed to face a trial last June.
"On the eve of the trial at the High Court, Crown revealed a mountain of information taken from the applicant's cellphone, 12,000 pages in its entirety," Harris wrote. "This can and should have been provided months before. There is no explanation in any form. Even mitigating situations cannot be imagined. "
As a result of late disclosures, the trial was rescheduled for February 2019 – which will mark 28 months since Belle's arrest. A decision by the famous Canadian Supreme Court known as Rv. Jordan sets a tight schedule to bring people accused to court; in the High Court, the limit is 30 months between someone's arrest and the conclusion expected from their trial. If the ceiling is violated, the casing must be thrown unless the Crown can prove there is an extraordinary situation for the delay.
However, the Supreme Court left the door open for cases which also had to be thrown if it fell under the ceiling but met certain criteria. Harris concluded this was one of the rare cases.
As Star reported in April, a number of Brampton judges have criticized Canada's Public Prosecution Service, a federal agent handling drug crimes, because of failure to disclose which led to a pending case.
In one case last year, judge Brampton Paul O & # 39; Marra said that he "joined the chorus of punishments" for the PPSC disclosure problem by another judge in the courthouse when he threw allegations of male heroin related.
"The period of time needed to provide lawyers with disclosure in this case is unacceptable," he said.
The judge at the Brampton courthouse threw three drug cases, including the Belle case, because of the delay in 2018, down from six cases thrown in 2017, according to the PPSC. The number of cases where prosecutors themselves are included in cases that are delayed, which means they choose not to continue the case, is two years ago, down from six in 2017.
"PPSC remains dedicated to ensuring that disclosures are collected and presented in a timely manner and consistent with the schedule set by recent jurisprudence," PPSC spokesman Nathalie Houle told Star.
The Brampton courthouse is usually recognized as one of the busiest in the country. Harris noted in a Dec. 24 ruling that imported cases were "the subject of this courthouse" because it had jurisdiction over crimes committed at the adjacent Pearson airport in Mississauga.
While Belle's cellphone was confiscated on the day of her arrest in October 2016, the warrant to look for it was only sought in June 2017, according to judge Harris's decision.
"There is no explanation given for this nine-month interval," Harris wrote. He said the defense was then only told about the extraction of telephone contents almost a year later, in May 2018, two weeks before the Belle trial would initially begin.
The judge found that the case was not complicated and that the Crown did not act quickly, the factors that supported the throwing of the case even though it fell below the 30-month deadline.
"Warrants for extraction are easily obtained. Why does it take nine months just to get a warrant in this case confusing, "he said. "But it does not reveal the existence of mobile extraction until before the trial more than one and a half years later after the seizure, and the actual content until even later, is clearly unacceptable."
Calling a delay in this case "terrible," Belle's lawyer, Chris Rudnicki, also admitted that there were rarely cases under the deadline set by the Supreme Court to be detained.
"They said nothing about it, maybe because there was no explanation for that," he said of the late disclosure of Crown.
Harris also concluded that while the defense could request the date of the previous second trial or complain about the delay in the case when the date of the first trial was no longer possible, the defense had also taken significant steps to bring the case. This is also an important criterion to be fulfilled if a case that is below the 30-month limit must be thrown.
"In the end, it was Crown's obligation to bring the defendant to court," Harris said. "Defense does not drag their feet or frustrate Crown's efforts … Crown causes very excessive delays and then, has the opportunity to correct their mistakes, fails to act."
Jacques Gallant is a Toronto-based reporter covering legal matters. Follow him on Twitter: @JacquesGallant