Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An adjournment sought merely for delay is properly refused

R. v. Phung, 2012 ONCA 720 is a good source for the principle that an adjournment sought merely for delay is properly refused:

[32]       In our view, the trial judge did not err in the exercise of his discretion to deny the adjournment.

[33]       The exercise of his discretion to deny the adjournment application was rooted in his finding that the appellant, in discharging counsel and seeking an adjournment to retain new counsel, was attempting to manipulate the process and delay the proceeding. In our view, that considered and pivotal finding is unassailable.

[34]       Nor are we persuaded by the appellant’s argument that the trial judge erred in principle when he eventually, and then only gently, pressed the appellant for an explanation as to why he was dismissing counsel. The appellant submits that when seeking an adjournment an accused has no obligation to explain why he has dismissed counsel and that the trial judge improperly impinged upon solicitor-client privilege. Viewed in context, the trial judge was attempting to give the appellant the opportunity to rebut the clear inference that the appellant’s discharge of his counsel and his request for an adjournment were motivated by an intent to delay and obstruct the trial process, and to explore the possibility of a continued solicitor-client relationship as an alternative to the appellant representing himself.  There was nothing improper about this.

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