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CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES - Legal rights - Stay of proceedings

Thursday, June 27, 2019 @ 6:33 AM  


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Appeal by the Crown from a stay of charges of assault causing bodily harm, unlawful confinement, assault, mischief, and breach of probation. The respondent allegedly grabbed his partner by the neck, pushed her, and pinned her down during an argument. The respondent was not released by the arresting officer or the officer in charge and instead was detained pending a bail hearing. The stay was granted because of systemic problems experienced by the bail system in Alberta, which resulted in the respondent being held for 35 hours before he was taken before a Justice of the Peace. The Crown conceded the respondent’s section 7, 9 and 11(e) Charter rights were breached.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The remedy granted by the trial judge was driven by systemic problems but was personal to the respondent and unrelated to the systemic problem that generated it. As an individual remedy, it was excessive and did nothing to remedy the systemic problems that motivated it. There were clearly other fit remedies for the respondent personally, such as a reduction in sentence or damages. The trial judge relied on several irrelevant factors in selecting the remedy for the Charter breaches. Her dismissal of the seriousness of the charges as a factor in selecting the remedy was an error of law. The remedy selected was unreasonable. An individual remedy for the respondent for the breach of his Charter rights could be crafted at the conclusion of the proceedings. The record was insufficient to attempt to fashion a systemic remedy.

R. v. Reilly, [2019] A.J. No. 676, Alberta Court of Appeal, F.F. Slatter, P.W.L. Martin and D. Pentelechuk JJ.A., May 28, 2019. Digest No. TLD-June242019012