Ruling on sentencing delay could put more pressure on a stressed justice system

July 10, 2018

A recent Ontario Superior Court decision could put even more stress on a justice system already struggling with timelines imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada to protect the right to a speedy trial.

An Ontario judge recently stayed charges against a man convicted of pistol-whipping a Toronto convenience store clerk during a hold-up in 2015 — because it took too long to sentence him after he was found guilty.

Just over 24 months elapsed between the arrest of Ammaan Charley in January 2015 and the trial that saw him convicted of armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a loaded, restricted firearm.

That's within the deadline of 30 months set for superior court cases by the Supreme Court of Canada in the so-called Jordan decision in 2016.

But the sentencing phase dragged Charley's total time in lockup past that deadline.

In late June, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Morgan ruled that Charley's rights had been violated and issued a permanent stay of proceedings.

"It was the post-judgment delay in sentencing which should have been done more quickly and which pushed this case over the limit," Morgan wrote in his decision.


"That phase of the case began in January 2017, fully six months after the Supreme Court's judgment in Jordan and, therefore, when no one can claim reliance on the pre-existing state of the law. Mr. Charley cannot be made to shoulder the failure to expedite the case once all parties were aware of the new (right to a speedy trial) parameters."

Read more: Ruling on sentencing delay could put more pressure on a stressed justice system