A man charged after a murder at the Edmonton Institution in August of 2011 has had proceedings against him stayed.
Court documents obtained by Global News show Lance Matthew Regan was scheduled to go on trial this coming Monday, but last Friday, a judge ruled that it has taken too long to get him to trial.
Mason Tex Montgrand, 21, was stabbed to death at the Edmonton Institution on Aug. 16, 2011. Regan was a fellow inmate at the correctional facility.
Justice S.D. Hillier ruled Regan’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated—specifically his right to be tried within a “reasonable time.”
The original application brought forward by Regan’s defence pointed to a time lapse between the initial charge and the expected conclusion of trial, calculated at 62.5 months.
Hillier’s ruling cites the landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling R. vs Jordan, which set out a new framework for determining whether a criminal trial has been unreasonably delayed.
According to the Jordan ruling framework, an unreasonable delay would be presumed should proceedings — from the date of charge to conclusion of a trial — exceed 18 months in provincial court, or 30 months in superior court.
University of Alberta Constitutional Law expert Patricia Paradis says the rule is there to protect all Canadians.
“It’s a Charter-protected right, it’s in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms section 11-B.” says Paradis. “And the idea is that the public needs to have confidence in our justice system so that anyone within the system will know that they will be dealt with in a reasonable time.”
Paradis adds that without this rule, legal cases could sit in limbo indefinitely.
“You can’t just keep languishing in jail or in the remand centre or waiting for your trial to come.” she says. “It’s too much stress on the person, effectively. And the public needs to know that the justice system is moving along.”
The R. vs Jordan ruling also notes there can be exceptional circumstances in “particularly complex” cases that would allow for an exception to this.
But in Hillier’s ruling, he concludes the Regan case did not qualify as “exceptional” and ruled Regan’s charter right has been violated. (files from Global News, eb, ms, News Talk 770)