Since the 2016 R vs Jordan decision where the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a trial must be held within 18 months in provincial court and 30 months in superior court, lawyers nationwide have been seeking to suspend over 800 criminal cases (including more than a dozen murder and manslaughter cases) due to unreasonable delay.

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The Globe and Mail cites examples of cases seeking to be suspended due to unreasonable delay, including that of accused triple-murderer Shakti Ramsurrun, whose trial date was scheduled approximately five years after his arrest. Richard Dubé, Ramsurrun’s lawyer, says: “Five years is not normal in Canada, even if it’s a murder case.”

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When a case a suspended— or stayed— by the prosecution, there is a time limit of one year for the charges to be reinstated; when the decision is made by a judge, the case is officially closed.

The province of Quebec and Ontario have received the most applications for case stays since the R vs Jordan ruling, with numbers being reported at 514 and 245, respectively. The provincial court of Ontario, which handles everything from shoplifting cases to murder, bears enormous potential for problems, with over 6.5% of its 99,154 pending cases already surpassing the 18-month limit.

 

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