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APPEALS - Grounds - Question of law

Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 8:38 AM  


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Application by Grant for leave to appeal from the decision of a summary conviction appeal judge, determining that a delay of just under 18 months from the time she was issued an offence notice for speeding and the time of her trial did not infringe her right to be tried within a reasonable time pursuant to s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). The offence notice was mailed on November 4, 2014, relating to an offence that took place on October 27 and was captured by photo radar. Grant submitted a not guilty plea by mail. An internal delay of seven weeks occurred, after which Grant was assigned a trial date of April 27, 2016. She filed her motion for a stay on March 22, 2016. The motion judge granted a stay, finding some prejudice and opining that the institutional delay clearly exceeded the starting point of eight to 10 months for a criminal summary conviction matter. Given the simplicity of a speeding charge, the judge stated in obiter that a reasonable delay period would be four to six months from the date of a plea. Applying Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Jordan case, the appeal judge held that the delay was not unreasonable. He noted that the trial date was scheduled within the presumptive ceiling of 18 months, and found that Grant took no steps to expedite the proceedings. He found no evidence that Grant suffered prejudice. He remitted the matter for trial.

HELD: Application allowed. Grant was granted leave to appeal on the question of whether the appeal judge erred in law in applying the framework established in Jordan for determining whether there had been a breach of section 11(b) of the Charter. Grant was also granted leave to appeal on the question of whether the appeal judge erred in law in applying the transitional provisions in Jordan. She raised a matter of substance of sufficient importance to merit the attention of the Court of Appeal. There existed tension between the weight to be assigned the simplicity of the prosecution of offences, such as the one in this case, and the allocated institutional resources. Trial judges were interpreting the law differently and one of the roles of the Court of Appeal was to settle the law.

R. v. Grant, [2017] M.J. No. 247, Manitoba Court of Appeal, D.M. Cameron J.A., September 5, 2017. Digest No. TLD-Sept182017008