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Judges are forced to suspend charges, trials or guilty verdicts because of violations of the Jordan ruling.

A controversial judgment which denounces the shortage of judges.

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According to the latest federal statistics, Ontario has 27 vacancies in the judicial system: two in the Court of appeal of the province, 20 in the Superior Court and 5 in the Family Court.

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Timothy Toole was convicted of sexual assault, but his trial was suspended without ;#x27;he is not condemned. He is now free.

This is the latest case to raise eyebrows teeth due to the shortage of magistrates, a systemic problem in Ontario.

Dozens of serious criminal cases are suspended, even canceled, each year in the province for this type of problem: police misconduct, the Crown's slowness in disclosing evidence, a chronic shortage of judges and a lack of courtrooms in the courts.

Justice in Ontario faces unprecedented challenges, says chief justice

The decision of Justice Erika Chozik of the Ontario Superior Court, rendered at the end of December, is very rare, but symptomatic of the crisis affecting the administration of justice since the Jordan decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016.

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Section 11b of the Canadian Charter prescribes that every accused person has the right in Canada to be tried within a reasonable time. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned Barrett Richard Jordan's convictions because he was convicted 49 months after his arrest. “The Jordan ruling” was born.

Similar charges were also challenged on the same grounds regarding two other Ontarians.

Judge Chozik suspended the trial of Timothy Toole, who had been convicted three months earlier, after his jury trial, of violating a woman in June 2020, because her rights were violated under the Charter and the Jordan decision.

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To add insult to injury for the victim, this was Timothy Toole's second trial, after the cancellation of the first, nine months earlier, due to procedural defects. The woman, who cannot be named, becomes a plaintiff again in the case.

In the Jordan case, the Supreme Court was called upon to quantify the length of a reasonable period of time prescribed in the Charter.

It therefore ruled that trials in provincial superior courts must be held within a 30-month interval between the filing of charges against an individual and the start of their trial.

In Timothy Toole's case, it had been 34 months since the charges were filed against him when the verdict came in the second trial.

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The 18-page judgment of Justice Chozik of the Ontario Superior Court.

In her decision, Judge Chozik refused to take into consideration in this account the 9 months that elapsed between the ;#x27;cancellation of the first trial in Brampton and the start of the second in Milton, the neighboring town.

Elle written, on December 22, 2023, that liberty, security of the person, the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial are interests protected by the right of every accused to be tried in a reasonable deadline; these rights must be zealously defended by the courts.

The Crown asked the Ontario Court of Appeal to overturn this judgment and resume the trial for sentencing hearings.

In the latest complaint about the Jordan decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Sean Dunphy somehow saved the day in early January over another lawsuit.

He recalled that the courts were very busy in Toronto and that six judges had not yet been appointed there.

He writes that it is true that this court is dealing with a higher volume of serious criminal cases than before the pandemic and that it is necessary finds a significant number of vacant positions in the judiciary.

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Toronto is often cited as the busiest court jurisdiction in the country with the highest number of homicide trials.

Jonathan Martins' defense asked Judge Dunphy to stay sexual assault charges against his client. His jury trial, scheduled for September 2023, was postponed until February 2024 due to a shortage of judges.

With such a postponement, Martins' case would exceed the usual time limit prescribed by the Jordan decision by two months.

In his decision of January 5, 2024, the magistrate nevertheless considered that this was an unavoidable delay due to the situation in the Toronto court, which does not occur still not resolving the arrears linked to the pandemic in addition to the shortage of judges.

The magistrate therefore concluded that Jonathan Martins' right to be tried within a reasonable time had not been violated. No zeal on his part.

In December 2023, Judge Maureen Forestell, of the Superior Court of the&# x27;Ontario, rendered a different decision, but as controversial as that of her colleague, Justice Chozik.

The magistrate stayed the sexual assault charges against Shaun Alli because the accused's April 2023 jury trial could not proceed as planned when no judge was available.

The earliest and most convenient date for the parties was, again, in February 2024, which would have nevertheless made it possible to conclude Alli's trial three months before the deadline prescribed by the Jordan decision.

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The Ontario Court of Appeal will be asked to review Justice Chozik's decision, but no hearing date has yet been set for it to hear the case.

Judge Forestell nevertheless found that this was an unreasonable delay. If the judicial vacancies in Toronto had been filled in time, this case would not have been delayed, she wrote in her December 11, 2023 decision.

Even with Toronto's high volume of complex cases and COVID-related backlogs, the time frame for such a case to be heard would be 12 to 16 months after the matter was brought to trial. court. At 22 months, however, this case took 6 to 10 months longer than what should have been a satisfactory time frame, she continued.

The problem is not new. As early as 2017, Justice Anne Molloy of the Superior Court of Ontario already pointed out that many trial dates could not be respected because there were simply not enough judges .

In Canada, it is the federal government that appoints judges to the superior courts of justice and provincial courts of appeal.

In an email, Minister Arif Virani's spokesperson states that the Trudeau government has appointed, since October 2015, 171 judges to the Superior Court of Justice and 18 others to the Court of Justice. ;#x27;call in the province of Ontario alone, for a total of 189 nominations.

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Arif Virani.

Minister Virani has made it a top priority to ensure that judges are appointed quickly without compromising quality, writes David Taylor. He claims that the minister has appointed magistrates at a faster rate than any other government in recent history.

He appointed 54 judges in his first 4 months as justice minister, Taylor continued.

The spokesperson concludes that the minister spoke with members of the judiciary and bar to encourage more candidates to apply to judgeships, and will continue to make high-quality appointments that reflect the diversity of Canada.

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The judge Chief of the Supreme Court of Canada, Richard Wagner.

The federal government, however, refused to comment on the two controversial decisions, because the Attorney General of Ontario appealed the respective rulings.

Judges and lawyers have long decried the problems created by judicial vacancies.

In May 2023, Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that a chronic shortage of judges in the judicial administration was putting criminal trials at risk.

He noted that 10 to 15% of positions were vacant in many Canadian provinces.

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The Supreme Court of Canada has set the rules regarding the length of reasonable periods of time in the Jordan judgment.

In her judgment, Judge Forestell had even written that his colleagues in Toronto were trying to avoid additional delays by presiding over trials during their vacations.

Although the delay caused by the holidays has become typical, in my opinion it does not justify this delay, she writes, concluding that Shaun Alli was denied his constitutional right to be tried within a timely manner. reasonable.

The failure to provide adequate judicial resources is [on the other hand] unreasonable, she quips.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116