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APPEALS - Leave to - Summary conviction appeals

Tuesday, June 04, 2019 @ 8:43 AM  

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Application by Executive Flight Centre for leave to appeal an order of a summary conviction appeal judge that allowed the Crown appeal from a judicial stay of proceedings. In 2013, aviation fuel spilled into a creek from a fuel tanker driven by an employee of the applicant. In 2014, a private citizen swore an Information charging the applicant with depositing a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish. In January 2016, the Federal Crown intervened and stayed the private prosecution to allow completion of the ongoing investigation. In July 2016, the Federal Crown approved an eight-count Information charging the applicant with offences under the Fisheries Act and the Environmental Management Act. In September 2017, the trial judge granted a stay of proceedings based on a breach of s. 11(b) of the Charter. She included the private prosecution period and the six-month stay period in determining the total delay. The summary conviction appeal judge found the trial judge erred by including the stay period. She found the applicant’s s. 11(b) rights had not been infringed.

HELD: Application allowed. The proposed appeal had sufficient merit. The characterization of periods of delay was a question of law. The appeal raised questions of law about the application of principles of unreasonable delay from R. v. Jordan to private prosecutions. The issue had not yet been considered and had general importance to the administration of justice beyond the case at bar.

R. v. Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services Ltd., [2019] B.C.J. No. 711, British Columbia Court of Appeal, R. Goepel J.A., April 24, 2019. Digest No. TLD-June32019005