Many of my clients find themselves involved in criminal proceedings for extended periods of time, not because they are repeat offenders, but because the justice system is generally backlogged, underfunded, under-resourced and, often, just clunky as a mechanism of dispensing justice. If the circumstances are appropriate, some accused persons are successful at obtaining a judicial stay of proceedings on the grounds that the delay in prosecution has been so significant as to violate their right to be tried within a reasonable time, which is founded in Section 11 (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
When considering whether the delay in any case is unreasonably long, the Court often considers the following factors:
1. the length of the delay;
2. waiver of time periods;
3. the reasons for the delay, including
(a) inherent time requirements of the case,
(b) actions of the accused,
(c) actions of the Crown,
(d) limits on institutional resources, and
(e) other reasons for delay; and
4. prejudice to the accused.
Bringing a “delay application” is sometimes a very effective way of resolving criminal charges against you. Talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to decide if such an application is appropriate for your case.