Quebec Crown appeals murder charge stayed due to Jordan ruling

Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions is appealing a decision to stay a second-degree murder charge against a man accused of killing his wife in 2012. 

The appeal was filed Wednesday with the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Superior Court Justice Alexandre Boucher ordered a stay of proceedings last week in the case against Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham, because his case had taken too long to come to trial.

It marked the first time in Quebec that a murder charge had been stayed due to the so-called Jordan ruling.

Thanabalasingham was arrested in August 2012 and spent five years behind bars awaiting trial.

The Jordan ruling, issued by the Supreme Court of Canada last July, imposed new deadlines on the justice system to avoid unreasonable trial delays.

Trials involving less serious offences must now be wrapped up within 18 months and those involving more serious charges, including murder, face a 30-month deadline. 

'This is positive,' women's centre says

The community centre that tried to help Anuja Baskaran months before she was killed is feeling a little more hopeful, now that the Crown is appealing.

Dolores Chew, the founding member of the South Asian Women's Community Centre, said she tried to step in after Baskaran's father expressed concern.

"The victim's family had come and was trying to get help to work with the victim — to get her to decide to take a decision that would be for her safety," Chew said.

"So we were working on that with her."

Chew told CBC that the move to appeal Thanabalasingham's stay of proceedings is good news for those who work with families.

"On the face of it, I think this is positive. What happened with this case with the Jordan ruling is very, very scary because, as it is, a lot of women do not come forward."

Accused facing deportation

The case of Thanabalasingham, a 31-year-old originally from Sri Lanka with permanent resident status, has created a sense of urgency within the Quebec government to do more to help it speed up its justice system.

After five years behind bars, Thanabalasingham's murder trial had been set to start earlier this week, on Monday, April 10.

Thanabalasingham is now facing deportation for crimes committed in 2011 and 2012. 

He pleaded guilty to assault charges related to three incidents during that time and was ordered to serve four months in jail.

He is appealing his deportation order, a process which could take up to four years.

Thanabalasingham is currently being detained and will find out Thursday afternoon if he will be released, pending his appeal.