Law Times

May 8, 2017

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Ruling impacts defence scheduling post-Jordan BY SHANNON KARI For Law Times T he unavailability of a de- fence lawyer because of scheduling issues will not necessarily count against an accused in assessing whether the right to a trial in a reasonable time has been breached, a Superior Court judge in Cornwall has ruled. Defining what is defence- caused delay is one of the issues that trial courts have been grap- pling with since the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R v. Jordan last summer. "Counsel are not expected to devote their time to one case," wrote Justice Rick Leroy in staying human trafficking charges against three defendants for a violation of their Charter rights in a case that took nearly 40 months to be brought to trial. The main cause of the delay was a lack of Superior Court resources, noted Leroy in his ruling in R v. Albinowski et al, released on April 20. "A symptom of the poor health of the criminal justice system in this jurisdiction is that we were unable to assign priority status to a serious case with serious conse- quences for the accused if convict- ed because the pipeline was/is full," wrote Leroy. Scheduling delays, especially in cases where there is more than one accused, says Toronto defence lawyer Megan Savard, has not been settled in the trial courts in Ontar- io when it comes to how to inter- pret that aspect of Jordan. "There is a vigorous debate. I think there is a divide in the Supe- rior Court," says Savard, a partner at Addario Law Group LLP, who represented the Criminal Law- yers' Association last month as an intervener at the Supreme Court in R v. Cody, which is also about unreasonable delay (the decision is on reserve). In Cody, the criminal lawyers group argued there should be a high bar for attributing delay to POWER OF THE CHARTER Great protector in recent immigration case P7 FOCUS ON Health & Life Sciences Law P8 See Main, page 2 PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 28, No.16 May 8, 2017 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M NEGLIGENCE RULING Limitation period relaxed for professional cases P5 BY ALEX ROBINSON Law Times T he federal government has tightened security at federal courts in an effort to improve safety. Lawyers at federal courts in To- ronto and Ottawa now will be re- quired to go through metal detec- tors when entering, and they will have their belongings screened. The new screening process is being implemented in the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Tax Court of Canada and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. While some lawyers do not view the new screening as particu- larly onerous, another has voiced concerns that lawyers are being subjected to searches. Peter Aprile, of Counter Tax Lawyers, says that while there is a concern that the new process could leave files with sensitive in- formation open to scrutiny, he is confident that lawyers can work with court staff to appropriately balance privilege with security concerns. "What the release seems to say and what the court seems to sup- port is that we can make arrange- ments with the courts' officers in advance if there are any issues," he says. "My position was if I had some grave concern about that, then, obviously, we would avail our- selves to speaking with the court registry office . . . and make sure any sensitive information was protected." The new security measures were announced at the end of March along with a list of prohib- ited items. The new screening measures are similar to the process when go- ing through security at an airport, lawyers say. However, it is unlike Ontario's provincial courts, where lawyers are exempt from security screen- ing. Lawyers, and others who en- ter the courts, will have their be- longings screened using an X-ray machine and possibly physically searched if necessary "to resolve an alarm" or if there is no machine available. See Equipment, page 2 Peter Aprile says that while there is a concern that the new process could leave files with sensitive information open to scrutiny, he is confident that lawyers can work with court staff to appropriately balance privilege with security concerns. Photo: Robin Kuniski Measures similar to process at airports: lawyers New security screening at federal courts Megan Savard says scheduling delays, espe- cially in cases where there is more than one accused, have not been settled in the trial courts in Ontario in the aftermath of Jordan. 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