Another Ontario judge has blamed a lack of resources in the Brampton courts for extraordinary delays that led to gun charges being thrown out.
In a recent ruling, Ontario court judge Paul F. Monahan said that a delay of more than 18 months bringing the case to trial violated the accused’s rights.
The accused in the case, Tyranne Greenidge, had been charged with several offences arising out of a June 26, 2019 traffic stop, including the criminal charge of possession of a loaded restricted firearm.
“This is a serious case,” Monahan wrote in his Jan. 27 ruling. “Guns are a major problem in our society. I have reluctantly concluded that I have no choice but to enter a stay in this case for a violation of the charter.”
The judge noted that neither the Crown counsel, defence counsel, the court or the trial coordinator were to blame for the delays. Rather, he said the “die was cast” when it took roughly two months to make a judicial pretrial available and another 14 months to make a trial date available.
This happened because there was a lack of resources in the Brampton Ontario court of justice (OCJ), Monahan wrote. “This is an observation that has been made in many other cases. It is not the first time this has happened in the Brampton OCJ, and it is unlikely to be the last.”
Monahan noted that the total delay was 18 months and 25 days, which is above the ceiling of 18 months set out in a landmark 2016 Supreme Court ruling.
Dubbed the Jordan ruling, it stipulates that once charges are laid, provincial cases must be heard within 18 months and superior court cases within 30 months, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Other judges in Peel have underscored similar concerns including another January ruling in which Superior Court Justice David Harris citing “long-standing and glaring systemic issues,” in Brampton’s bail court before staying a string of serious criminal charges, including 10 gambling and 53 illicit gaming counts, against two men who waited 12 days for a bail hearing.
Harris said he reviewed more than two dozen cases and found “pervasive” bail delays had occurred with “alarming frequency” in violation of accused persons’ charter right to a bail hearing in a reasonable amount of time — typically within 24 hours or three days for more complex hearings requiring a special bail hearing.
Defence lawyer Daniel Brown, who serves as vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association told the Star it is one of many examples of serious criminal cases being tossed for delay because the Brampton courthouse lacks the resources necessary to prosecute cases in a constitutionally acceptable timeframe.
“One solution is for the provincial government to dedicate more resources to the jurisdiction, including additional judges, courtrooms and prosecutors,” Brown said. “Care must be taken by police and prosecutors to examine whether some minor cases could be diverted from the court system earlier in the process so that our justice system has the necessary resources available to address serious criminal prosecutions like this one.”
Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic
Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star