New mur­der trial or­dered for ex-sol­dier

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - ONTARIO NEWS - PAOLA LORIGGIO THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

TORONTO — On­tario’s top court has or­dered a new mur­der trial for an ex-sol­dier who walked free be­cause his case took too long to be heard.

The Crown had ap­pealed a judge’s de­ci­sion to stay a first-de­gree mur­der charge against Adam Pi­card un­der new time lim­its es­tab­lished by the Supreme Court of Canada last sum­mer.

It also al­leged On­tario Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Ju­lianne Par­fett mis­char­ac­ter­ized the na­ture of the de­lays, failed to con­sider the com­plex­ity of the case and did not prop­erly ac­count for a tran­si­tional pe­riod in ap­ply­ing the new rules.

Pi­card was ar­rested in De­cem­ber 2012 in the killing of 28-year-old Fouad Nayel, who po­lice be­lieve died the day he went miss­ing in June of that year.

The trial was set to be­gin in 2016 when the mur­der charge was stayed in a sur­prise de­ci­sion.

In a rul­ing re­leased Thurs­day, the Court of Ap­peal for On­tario said it would be un­fair to hold the Crown to the time lim­its es­tab­lished in the land­mark R v Jor­dan rul­ing since they came into ef­fect long af­ter Pi­card’s case be­gan.

These rules state that cases heard in provin­cial court should go to trial within 18 months and those heard in Su­pe­rior Court should do so within 30 months, once de­lays caused solely by the defence or by un­pre­dictable events have been sub­tracted. If the time frame ex­ceeds those lim­its, the Crown must demon­strate that the de­lay was rea­son­able.

“I ac­knowl­edge that this case ex­hibits some of the de­lay con­cerns that Jor­dan sought to ad­dress,” Jus­tice Paul Rouleau wrote on be­half of the three-judge panel.

“Had the charges been laid and pros­e­cuted un­der the Jor­dan regime from the out­set, the over­all time needed to bring the case to trial com­bined with the Crown’s re­fusal to agree to a trial on the first avail­able dates in the Su­pe­rior Court would, in my view, have re­sulted in a stay.”

How­ever, work­ing un­der the pre- vi­ous rules, “a court would not, weigh­ing the length of the de­lay, the rea­sons for the de­lay, the sig­nif­i­cant prej­u­dice to the ac­cused and the so­ci­etal in­ter­est, con­sider the de­lay to be un­rea­son­able.”

Pi­card’s lawyers had ar­gued Par­fett’s de­ci­sion should be up­held. They ar­gue pros­e­cu­tors were un­avail­able for a long stretch of last year, caus­ing up to eight months of de­lays.

ER­ROL MCGIHON/POST­MEDIA FILES

Mur­der charges against Adam Pi­card, above, were stayed in 2016 be­cause the case took too long to get to court, but have been re­in­stated upon ap­peal.

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