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TAX EVASION - GST - Trial within reasonable time

Wednesday, October 02, 2019 @ 6:13 AM  

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Appeal by Millar from his conviction for income tax evasion, failing to remit GST, and counselling another person to commit fraud. Application by Millar to adduce new evidence relating to post-conviction delay. Millar was an educator with Paradigm Education Group, which gave seminars and sold materials to students about how they could structure their affairs to be exempt from paying income tax. It took the police 14 months to locate Millar after the information was sworn. The trial judge found the presumptively unreasonable 46 month delay under s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was justified based on the complexity of the case. She rejected Millar’s submission that the Income Tax Act only applied to artificial persons who agreed to be taxpayers. She had Millar briefly handcuffed for being disruptive. All but three months of the total delay in the case occurred prior to the release of R. v. Jordan.

HELD: Appeal and application to adduce new evidence dismissed. The new evidence was inadmissible as it could not have affected the result. There was no merit to Millar’s challenge to the authority of the investigators or prosecutors, the jurisdiction of the court, or the validity of the charging documents. The trial judge’s decision to order Millar to be handcuffed was not unnecessary or abusive and was within her authority to gain control of the proceedings. While the trial judge erred in treating case complexity as an exceptional circumstance, her ultimate conclusion that the delay did not infringe Millar’s right to be tried within a reasonable time was correct. The time it took police to locate Millar should have been characterized as a discrete exceptional event that reduced the delay to 32 months. The Crown had placed reasonable reliance on the state of the law prior to R. v. Jordan and could not be faulted for failing to take additional steps in an effort to expedite the proceeding. The application of the transitional exceptional circumstance led to the conclusion the delay was not unreasonable.

R. v. Millar, [2019] B.C.J. No. 1550, British Columbia Court of Appeal, P.M. Willcock, G.J. Fitch and P. Abrioux JJ.A., August 19, 2019. TLD-September302019008