Child luring charges against former Labrador police officer stayed
A former Hopedale Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer is no longer facing child luring charges after a provincial court judge ruling last week.
Ian Kaulback was arrested for an alleged child luring Feb. 8, 2013 — an investigation which was handed over to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and took 10 months to analyze evidence and file a report. He pleaded not guilty at the time.
He was charged with a second count of child luring July 9, 2014; 17 months after the investigation began.
Judge John Joy, in a ruling Feb. 17 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, determined Kaulback’s charter rights had been violated due to an unreasonable amount of time to go to trial.
According to the judge’s decision, it took 18 months for the case’s disclosure to be provided to the defence. Joy also noted it took Kaulback nearly a year to retain a lawyer, mostly due to his attempts to maintain Nick Avis as his counsel. He eventually applied to the Legal Aid Commission and was appointed an attorney.
A trial date of Nov. 4-6, 2015 was eventually set, but the defence filed for a stay of proceedings beforehand.
The total amount of time between his arrest and the scheduled trial was 33 months, but the calling of evidence and initial counsel submissions increased that time to 41 months — which Joy called a better estimate of the time it would have taken to conclude a trial.
Reasonable time limits for a trial are eight to 10 months, with an additional six to eight months if the alleged offences are indictable and whether there is a preliminary inquiry and a Supreme Court trial. Considering a number of factors that could delay court proceedings, these parameters are often stretched, according to the judge, including up to 30 months for Supreme Court trials.
Kaulback’s case was initially scheduled for provincial court trial, re-elected to Supreme Court, and again re-elected to provincial court within a span of about 18 months. No preliminary inquiry was held, even though one was scheduled.
Crown attorney Trina Simms argued these defence actions required the application of the 30-month presumptive ceiling. The defence lawyer Jeffrey Slade countered the 18-month window is appropriate in this case.
A lone senior systems analyst with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary took 10 months to analyze all of the electronic and computer equipment police seized. Joy referred to this as a situation of “inadequate institutional resources.”
“The obvious lesson here is that the government must provide an adequate number of properly trained and experienced experts in this field with the necessary equipment and offices in order to complete this type of work in a shorter space of time,” Joy said.
The judge also factored the delays through the entire case with inadequate number of courts, judges, clerks, and counsel in Labrador. These as institutional delays are foreseeable and preventable, he said.
There were extraordinary circumstances in the case, acknowledged Joy, including compassionate leave for both the lead investigator due to a death in his family and the crown attorney due to a medical emergency with a family member.
The judge said the seriousness of two child luring charges leads to a public interest in seeing such cases come to trial in a timely manner. Proceeding under indictment, Kaulback
Judge John Joy, in a ruling Feb. 17 in Happy ValleyGoose Bay, determined Kaulback’s charter rights had been violated due to an unreasonable amount of time to go to trial.
would have faced a minimum six months to a maximum of 14 years, if convicted.
“Timely justice is one of the hallmarks of a free and democratic society,” Joy stated. “This case is an example of how delay works to the detriment of everyone. Conversely, timely justice accrues to the benefit of all.”
Joy ultimately determined that eight months of the delay was attributed to the defence and 25 months was Crown related. While that is below the 30-month ceiling for the November 2015 trial, the judge estimated a trial conclusion of June 2016 — surpassing that 30month ceiling for institutional delay by three months and well beyond the 14-18 months threshold for Crown delay.
No matter what reasonable ceiling Joy determined was appropriate, the judge said Kaulback has the right to a stay of proceedings.
Ian James Kaulback waits in court during an undated appearance related to child luring charges he faced.