ONCA on Post-verdict Delay

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released a decision reducing the appellant’s 30 month sentence by five months for unreasonable post-verdict delay. R. v. Hartling, 2020 ONCA 243, concerns the amount of time it took to submit a Gladue report to the court.

From the decision by Benotto, J.A.

[96]      The post-verdict delay is another matter. It took 14 months after conviction for the sentence to be imposed. This delay was not caused by ineffective judicial management. It was not caused by the appellant, nor was it caused directly by the actions of the prosecutor. It was caused by the lack of institutional resources to obtain a Gladue report.

[97]      Immediately upon conviction, trial counsel obtained an order for a Gladue report from the trial judge. However, court administration services denied funding. At the time – as difficult to understand as it seems – there was only one Gladue writer in the Algoma district. There were no Gladue writers provided by Aboriginal Legal Services in the Algoma district. Therefore, there were only two options: (a) paying privately out of pocket; or (b) obtaining Legal Aid funding. Ultimately, the appellant, with the assistance of his counsel, chose to pay privately.

Further commentary is available from The Lawyers Daily.

MBCA analysis on R. v. Jordan

The Manitoba Court of Appeal released a decision that contained a significant analysis of what constitutes a delay in court proceedings, and whether it warrants a dismissal.  R. v. Schenkels, 2017 MBCA 62 originated as an appeal of a conviction by a jury for aggravated sexual assault, but also claims delay. Hamilton, J.A. also cites the even more recent Supreme Court of Canada decision of R. v. Cody, 2017 SCC 31.

These decisions demonstrate how long it takes for a matter to go from a charge to an acquittal or conviction. Guidance from the Court of Appeal should help keep it in check.

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