Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pre-Charge delay

The Supreme Court today (R. v. Hunt 2017 SCC 25) upheld a lower court decision (R. v. Hunt, 2016 NLCA 61) which limited the effect of pre-charge delay to rare cases of prejudice.  The Court below, cited by , stated:

[81]        Subject to a few specific exceptions, the laying of indictable criminal charges is not subject to limitation periods (Rourke).  (See also R. v. Finta, 1994 CanLII 129 (SCC), [1994] 1 S.C.R. 701.)  Limitation periods in criminal law are the province of parliament, subject to judicial scrutiny only for constitutional compliance and the ability of courts to control their own processes to protect accused persons through the doctrine of abuse of process.  The invocation of section 7 of the Charter to assist an accused person whose regularly constituted charges involve significant pre-charge delay has been carefully confined to few and unusual circumstances where demonstrated prejudice to his or her fair trial rights or abuse of process is found.

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