You see the 48-month delay in bringing Picard to trial resulted in a stay of the charges because it was ruled that Picard’s right to a speedy trial was violated.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and the Crown are appealing the stay.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in what has become known as the Jordan decision, has placed a 30-month limit between charges being laid and a trial being completed for Superior Court cases. Provincial court cases … 18 months.
The limits appear to be reasonable for finding a resolution.
Except there is one problem.
At least 1,000 criminal cases are in danger of finishing the way Picard’s situation did.
So Naqvi is caught between a rock and a hard place or rather a backlog and justice.
Justice is not served by staying trials because of unusually lengthy delays for the case to reach a resolution. Long delays don’t contribute to justice either.
Seeing that trials proceed quickly does not engender much love in the community for the provincial government. Neither does prison reform. Staying murder trials does even less for electoral success.
It’s not as though the Liberal government at Queen’s Park didn’t know about the delays or hasn’t had enough time to solve the huge problem. The Grits have been in power for a long time and the issue has not been solved under the party’s watch.
The fault for this situation resides with the Liberals and their inability to provide enough resources to ensure speedy justice. Staying murder trials does nothing for respect for the law.
Ending court backlogs is not as sexy as cutting ribbons for light-rail projects or building new hospitals. But the public does expect that the humdrum functions of government be treated thoroughly.
Queen’s Park has not done this and the result calls into question the proper function of the justice system. Ontarians expect the court system to work properly. It is an outrage that it does not.
The Liberal government should never have allowed this situation to become so bad.
Naqvi can appeal cases all he wants. Is he prepared to appeal a thousand cases? Probably not. And the appeals? What do they do to all the backed-up cases?
Fix the backlog now.
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