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Applying the Jordan framework: Are courts placing too much of the burden on the defence?
Applying the Jordan framework: Are courts placing too much of the burden on the defence?

In R v. Jordan, the Supreme Court put a hard cap on the duration of criminal trials — sending a thrill of panic through the justice system in the process. The ruling is roughly two and a half years old now. Time for the training wheels to come off.Now, that backlog of pre-Jordan charges has been largely cleared — the transitional period is over. But Crown and defence lawyers alike report that trial times aren’t speeding up; statistics cited in a recent Law Times article show that in the Ontario Court of Justice, average times to disposition and the number of court appearances have not diminished since Jordan. If the SCC intended the ruling as a salutary shock to the system, it didn’t work.So what happens now?

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Publication date : 2018-12-18
RCMP’s forensic firearm testing backlog adding delays to justice system

The RCMP’s forensics labs are taking nearly four times longer to analyze firearms than they did just four years ago, adding delays to a criminal justice system under pressure to speed up after a recent Supreme Court decision.

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Publication date : 2018-12-16
Court delays persist, despite Jordan
Court delays persist, despite Jordan

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Jordanand the problems it tried to address are still top of mind in the criminal courts in Ontario nearly two-and-a-half years after it was released.

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Publication date : 2018-12-03
The performance pay saga reaches a settlement
The performance pay saga reaches a settlement

The issue is the prorating of performance pay in relation to pre-promotion period for the year in which lawyers are promoted. If a lawyer was eligible for performance pay and was promoted during the year, the Employer, rather than pay out a prorated performance pay for the period pre-promotion, paid out nothing at all regardless of your performance rating for the year. The AJC originally filed a grievance in 2011 and in response to that grievance, TB had conceded in the context of the adjudication hearing that pre-promotion service should be recognized. Unfortunately, the adjudicator originally disregarded TB's concession in his decision of 2015, requiring the AJC to file an application for judicial review, which eventually resulted on December 22, 2016 in a remedy limited to the right to pre-promotion performance pay for the year 2010-2011. Thus, the AJC filed another policy grievance on July 27th 2016. The hearing was scheduled for October 2018. We are pleased to announce that we now have a signed Memorandum of Settlement on this matter with TB.  

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Publication date : 2018-10-30
Not all Questions are Good Questions: Avoiding Discriminatory Interview Practices
Not all Questions are Good Questions: Avoiding Discriminatory Interview Practices

Much ink has been spilled over a recent decision by the Commission de la fonction publique (the "Commission") on the topic of discriminatory interview practices. In Association des procureurs aux poursuites criminelles et pénales et Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales[1], the Commission found that the plaintiff had been discriminated against when she was denied a position due to her pregnancy.

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Publication date : 2018-10-11
Federal government facing pushback over bill to transform justice system
Federal government facing pushback over bill to transform justice system

One thing that both the prosecution and the defence seem to agree on is that the federal government’s push to cut preliminary inquiries in most criminal cases will not solve the long-standing problem of delays in the criminal justice system.

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Publication date : 2018-10-01


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Shortage of judges, prosecutors behind criminal charges being stayed

20-11-2016

Ontario court of justice CITYNEWS/George Joseph

 

Ontario’s ministry of the attorney general is reviewing thousands of criminal charges that could be stayed or withdrawn because cases are taking too long to get to trial, but Crown attorneys say the government had made the situation worse.

 

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last July in what is known as the Jordan decision that a reasonable delay to trial is 18 months for provincial cases and 30 months for cases before the superior court.

 

Last week, a first-degree murder charge against former Canadian Forces member Adam Picard was stayed on the grounds that his right to a speedy trial had been violated, four years after the charge was laid in Ottawa. On Friday, the attorney general’s office announced it would appeal the ruling.

 

The Ontario Crown Attorneys Association estimates there are about 6,000 criminal cases that could see charges stayed or withdrawn, and it blames a shortage of judges, prosecutors and court space.

 

Association president Kate Matthews said the group has been raising the alarm about the need for more resources in Crown attorney’s offices for years, calling a crisis inevitable.

 

“Anyone working in the criminal justice system could see ‘Jordan’ coming, and yet the government did nothing with respect to the key reasons behind it,” Matthews wrote in an open letter. “In the last few years, the government has effectively reduced the number of assistant Crown attorneys in trial offices.”

 

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said cases can be stayed or withdrawn after the accused completes an alternative or restorative justice program, like a domestic violence or drug treatment program, or if the accused enters a guilty plea or agrees to another resolution like a peace bond.

 

Naqvi said his officials are examining cases to make sure other serious charges aren’t stayed or withdrawn because of delays in meeting the Supreme Court’s deadline.

 

“Of course we need to work on the cases that are imminent, in the system right now, but I want to make sure to use this decision as an opportunity to bring reforms to the system so that justice is delivered on time, without any unreasonable delays,” he said.

 

Progressive Conservative justice critic Randy Hillier said about 43 per cent of criminal cases in Ontario are stayed or withdrawn before trial.

 

“Ontario is without equal in its failings of the administration of justice,” said Hillier. “We have the worst record in the country.”

 

Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett attributed her decision to stay the proceedings against Picard “to the Crown’s heavy caseload and the Crown’s refusal to expedite the trial,” added Hillier.

 

“The justice system is either keeping innocent people behind bars or allowing criminals to walk free,” he said. “It doesn’t take a legal expert to see that our justice system is acting in the manner that frustrates and obstructs justice while also failing to protect society from dangerous offenders.”

 

Naqvi said the Supreme Court’s Jordan decision imposed new responsibilities on governments across the country.

 

“They basically have asked all levels of government and all of the partners within the criminal justice system to make sure the trials are getting done in a reasonable period of time,” he said. “We have been actively and diligently working on that, doing better case management.”

 

The problems with delays are in courts across Ontario, added Naqvi.

 

“Some court houses are just busier than others, and we’re working on all fronts and putting resources where they’re needed to make sure the cases are moving through the system.”

 

Matthews said the Crown attorneys welcome any effective efficiencies.

 

“However, those steps will be mere Band-Aids if the government does not take meaningful, significant and immediate steps to increase the number of assistance Crown attorneys,” she said.

 

http://www.citynews.ca/2016/11/20/shortage-judges-prosecutors-behind-criminal-charges-stayed/