Accused of murder, Montreal man has case stayed due to Jordan ruling

A Montreal man accused of second-degree murder has had his case stayed because of the Jordan ruling.

Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingam was accused in the murder of his wife. He was arrested in August of 2012.

The "Jordan decision" was issued by the Supreme Court of Canada last July. The ruling sets new deadlines on the justice system to avoid unreasonable trial delays.

Less serious offences must now be wrapped up within 18 months and more serious charges, including murder, have a 30 month deadline. 

"I thought my client's rights were violated," said his defence lawyer Joseph La Leggia.

Thanabalasingam has been detained since his arrest. Trial proceedings were set to start on Monday, April 10.

Given Thursday's ruling, Thanabalasingam should be released within hours, according to La Leggia.

"My client is …obviously very happy. Hopefully he's going to be released because he has no pending cases, no other charges against him. Normally the system would want him released from jail hopefully today or tonight. I'm presuming that it'll be in the next 24 hours or less."

This is the first time someone accused of murder in Quebec has had their charges stayed because of the Jordan ruling.

Thanabalasingam's case is the third in Canada.

The Crown has 30 days to appeal the decision.

Victims 'abandoned by our justice system'

A few weeks ago, the Quebec government announced the appointment of 16 new judges and the hiring of 52 new prosecutors as a way to unclog the system.

Hundreds of support staff were also hired.

The province has almost 700 requests for stays of proceedings for unreasonable time delays.

Véronique Hivon, justice critic for the official opposition, is calling for more to be done.

"Today, I think that our level of outrage has hit the limit. Our level of outrage literally hits the limit when we see that we are at a point where delays led to an alleged murderer being released," she said.

Hivon added that Quebec should explore the possibility of using the notwithstanding clause in exceptional circumstances "so that justice can be served beyond the time limits prescribed by the Jordan ruling.…It is not true that victims, such as those today who are left behind, who have lost their lives, and all of their families, must be abandoned by our justice system because of unreasonable delays.