OPP officer accused of sex assault on pregnant girlfriend

These are violations by the Ontario Provincial Police officers dealing with the Criminal Code of Canada, Controlled Substance and Abuse Act, Customs and Excise Act, etc.

OPP officer accused of sex assault on pregnant girlfriend

Postby Thomas » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:05 pm

OPP officer accused of sex assault on pregnant girlfriend wins stay

An OPP officer who was to be prosecuted this past week in Ottawa on charges that he sexually assaulted his pregnant girlfriend in 2017 was spared trial because it took too long to get to court, with the judge who stayed proceedings calling it a most unfortunate, regrettable and sad result.

And, in a remarkable postscript to his decision, the judge provided a series of suggestions that read like a manual for Ottawa prosecutors, defence lawyers, police and court staff so they can finally “get it right” when it comes to court delays.

Ontario Court Justice Norman Boxall granted the officer — whose name is shielded by a publication ban — a stay because his charter right to a trial within 18 months had been infringed, saying “to conclude otherwise would render meaningless a right enshrined in the charter as the supreme law of the land.”

The judge noted there were unjustified institutional delays for a simple case, from basic court scheduling to the fact that the Ottawa Crown’s office didn’t provide disclosure in a timely way. Even the Crown admitted the provision of disclosure in this case was far from a model of efficiency. The net time from arrest to end of trial dates was just short of 22 months, which exceeds the Supreme Court-mandated ceiling for trial length in the Ontario Court of Justice.

In 2016, ruling in the case of R. v. Jordan, the high court said provincial court cases must be concluded within 18 months of a criminal charge being laid.

In the OPP officer’s case, some Crown disclosure was given to the defence in an inaccessible format due to password problems, and some of it was just blank or illegible.

“There is no real explanation that justifies the delay in providing it,” Boxall said.

The Jordan application was successfully argued by defence lawyers Genevieve McInnes and Tony Paciocco, and while assistant Crown attorneys tried to blame some delays on defence lawyers, the judge noted they were “engaging in retrospective analysis that is not borne out by the facts. The defence conduct in this period (July 14 to Sept. 8, 2017) may not have been perfect” but “the Crown’s actions or inactions at the time are very telling.”

Boxall said that during this period the Crown never bothered to reply to any correspondence from defence lawyers.

The judge attributed the longest, most problematic delay to institutional delay, accounting for an incredible 17 months.

“In a case that began a year after Jordan was decided, we are dealing with 17 months of institutional delay in provincial court,” the judge noted.

- Boxall wrote that there was only one reason for such a lengthy institutional delay: “The reason is that the court did not offer trial time for seventeen months.”

- The judge said the institutional delay was completely unacceptable and noted the Crown did and said nothing from October 2017 on to address, let alone avoid the institutional delay.

- In a postscript to his decision, Boxall said trial judges want to hear trials, not Jordan applications, and said these charter violations are almost always entirely preventable. The judge modestly said others may have more effective strategies to prevent cases like this one, before detailing his series of suggestions:

Setting a trial date is a critical step so treat it like one. “All parties, the Crown, the defence and the court should take the time it takes to get it right … “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

- There’s a new electronic form of the information (sheet) with three boxes to fill out: arrest date, 15-month flag, 18-month flag. “The reason for this to be on the information is obvious. Yet in Ottawa, it is never completed.”

- The police need to start filling out those boxes. If they did so, the clerk or the court could easily address the presumptive ceiling if for some reason the Crown failed to do so.

- The Crown should check the presumptive ceiling when a trial date is being offered.

- Technology may exist so that when a trial date is entered into the file a warning is generated if it is not within the presumptive ceiling — much like a warning system used by some civil lawyers to respect limitation periods. The Crown should consider such a system.

- If the defence is not waiving (its client’s right to a speedy trial) the Crown needs to ask for the earliest trial date.

- The justice setting the date should not knowingly set a date outside the presumptive ceiling.

- The Crown must inform the justice if there has been a defence delay or a complexity, otherwise the judge won’t know. Boxall cited an appeal court decision that said creative solutions can sometimes be found to accelerate matters, but such solutions will remain elusive unless the court is told about the concern.

“In the overwhelming percentage of cases the local administrative judge is in a position to take steps to ensure the trial proceeds with the required time. However, he or she, needs to be asked to exercise those powers,” Boxall said.

“Inevitably some cases will have (Jordan) concerns or violations. However, (Jordan) violations for the first scheduled trial date are entirely preventable. There is nothing inevitable about them,” the judge concluded.

The OPP officer remains suspended with pay.

https://ottawasun.com/news/local-news/0 ... f3e52fe337

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