The Crown has long been struggling to fill vacancies within the provincial justice system, but only recently has it begun to put justice at risk. Now, delays are not only making the legal process more difficult for the accused, they could be giving the guilty a chance to walk
As criminal defence attorneys in British Columbia, we are dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Canadians accused of crimes. You are guaranteed the right to due process in a timely manner regardless of the crimes with which you are accused.
The courts of British Columbia have long been lagging, but in recent months the consequences have become dire.
If you’ve been accused of a DUI or other criminal offence, these delays could affect you. Make sure your attorney knows how to hold the justice system accountable.
In a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada, trial delays were set at 30 months. Amidst accusations that our legal system had become conducive to a “culture of complacency” in regards to delayed trials, the court ruled that a reasonable time frame was two and a half years.
This ruling was sparked in part by a B.C criminal case in which a man accused of selling narcotics was forced to wait over four years for his conviction due to delays that the Crown couldn’t reasonably explain.
In Surrey and the rest of the Vancouver Area, more and more defendants are seeing their trials take longer than they reasonably should. As we will see, defence attorneys that know how to put pressure on the court system can help you defend your rights in the courtroom against these unreasonable delays.
Dozens of Criminal Cases at Risk
The ruling that imposed limits on trials has put immense pressure on the B.C justice system, long the leading culprit in the supposed culture of complacency within the Canadian legal system. The Vancouver Sun even reported that dozens of criminal cases, many of high-profile criminals, could be at risk. A few notable ones include:
– Hells Angels David Gyles and Bryan Oldham: Along with their associates, these two men were convicted on drug charges. However, the proceedings have taken 49 months, long in excess of the 30-month limit, and the Crown has no legitimate reason. Their defence attorneys are attempting to have the charges dropped.
– Hells Angels Salvatore Gazzetta: In a similar case, his charges were dropped in September due to proceedings that were in excess of the 49-month time frame set by legal precedent to be “unreasonable”. It’s important to note that this case was in Quebec.
– Prince George Sex Crime Case: A former schoolteacher accused of sex crimes in the 1980s had his case thrown out due to a 43-month delay.While we never want to see dangerous criminals let back into society due to shortcomings in the justice system, as criminal defense attorneys, we are 100% dedicated to defending your rights in the courtroom. We can only hope that the courts are quickly re-staffed and that the proceedings are streamlined by the Crown.
Delays in court proceedings are reaching unconstitutional levels in British Columbia, making it all the more important for those accused to have expert legal representation that knows how to hold the system accountable for its ineptitude. If you feel as though you aren’t being adequately represented, let our Surrey criminal defense team know, and we’ll make sure you get the representation you deserve.