In an interview with Rebel News, Mark Joseph, a lawyer at The Democracy Fund (TDF), highlighted the importance of Canadian citizens being charged within a reasonable time, as prescribed by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC) in a 2016 decision. Joseph made this statement while discussing the eighth day of the trial involving Tamara Lich and Chris Barber.
Lich and Barber are facing charges of mischief, obstructing police, intimidation, and counseling others to engage in mischief and intimidation.
Joseph referred to the Jordan Rule, which is a precedent set by the SCOC’s R v. Jordan ruling. This ruling established guidelines for determining the maximum length of a criminal trial. According to the ruling, most trials should be completed within 18 to 30 months after the initial charge, depending on the type of trial. The Jordan Rule states that anything longer than this timeframe is presumed to be unreasonable, unless there are exceptional circumstances to justify the delay. If the time taken to complete the trial is deemed unreasonable, the proceedings may be stayed. The ruling also outlined special provisions for transitional cases that were already in progress when the rules changed.
Joseph emphasized that the crown must present its case within the parameters set by the Jordan Rule. If the trial exceeds these time limits, it may be considered a breach of the defendants’ rights, and the defense may argue that their rights were violated due to the trial not being completed in a timely manner.
Based on the current pace of the trial, with eight days already dedicated to examining two of the prosecution’s witnesses and starting with a third, Joseph suggested that the Lich and Barber trial may not be completed within the prescribed timeframe.
Ensuring that individuals are charged within a reasonable time is essential for upholding the principles of justice and fairness. It allows defendants to have their cases resolved efficiently and prevents unnecessary delays that could potentially impact their rights.
The Lich and Barber trial serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to the Jordan Rule and conducting trials in a timely manner. The defendants, as well as the overall justice system, rely on the timely completion of trials to ensure a fair and efficient legal process.
It remains to be seen whether the trial will be completed within the prescribed time limits or if the defense will raise concerns about potential Charter breaches due to delays. The outcome of this trial will have implications not only for the defendants but also for the broader legal system in Canada.