R. v. K.J.M. 2019 SCC 55

https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/18035/index.do

What is an 11(b) defence?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is meant to guarantee that the person’s criminal charges are dealt with expeditiously thus limiting the time that the person’s liberty is interfered with through bail conditions etc.

Any person charged with an offence has the right:

(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;

What is a reasonable amount of time?

The Supreme Court of Canada addressed this question in the 2016 decision of R. v. Jordan. The Court set up a new framework. At the heart of this new framework are two presumptive ceiling beyond which the delay is presumed unreasonable: 18 months for single stage provincial court proceedings and (2) a 30 months ceiling for proceedings conducted in the Superior Court.

The presumptive ceilings are not absolute, however.

The Jordan framework recognizes that delay falling below the presumptive ceiling will be unreasonable where the defence establishes that “(1) it took meaningful steps that demonstrate a sustained effort to expedite the proceedings, and (2) the case took markedly longer than it reasonably should have”

What is a reasonable time in youth matters?

In the matter of K.J.M, the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to establish a lower presumptive ceiling of 12 months for single stage proceedings in Provincial Court.

The majority of the Supreme Court refused to do so. Although the decision was far from unanimous. At least 2 Supreme Court of Canada Judges felt that the presumptive ceiling should be lowered to at least 15 months. In upholding the 18 months ceiling and refusing to lower it, however, the Supreme Court commented on the need for youth matters to proceed expeditiously and stated,

Nonetheless, it requires as a general rule that youth matters should proceed in a timely manner, and the Crown and the justice system must do their part to ensure this objective is met.

Although the Court did not find that K.J.M’s trial took markedly longer than reasonably necessary, their ruling reenforced the importance of expedient trials, particularly with respect to young persons.

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