On Thursday, Mark Joseph, lawyer at The Democracy Fund (TDF), stated in an interview with Rebel News that Canadian citizens have the right to be charged within a reasonable time, in accordance with a 2016 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC). This statement was made while reflecting on the events of the eighth day of the Tamara Lich and Chris Barber trial.
Both Lich and Barber face charges of mischief, obstructing police, intimidation, and counseling others to engage in mischief and intimidation.
Joseph recalled what's known as the Jordan Rule, essentially a precedent set by the SCOC's R v. Jordan ruling. The SCOC describes the ruling and impact:
In July 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada decided an important appeal, R. v. Jordan. Jordan set out rules to decide how long is too long for a criminal trial. It said that most trials should finish either 18 or 30 months after a person is charged, depending on the type of trial. Jordan tells judges to “presume” (accept as true) that anything longer is “unreasonable,” unless there is something unusual to justify it. (In this context, “unreasonable” basically means “too long.”) If the time taken was unreasonable, the proceedings have to be “stayed.” Jordan also set out special rules for cases like K.G.K.’s, which had already started when the rules changed. These were called “transitional” cases.
Joseph said, "the crown must complete its case within" the parameters laid codified by the Jordan Rule.
If the trial goes on "longer than that, there might be a Charter breach. So the defence might be able to argue that the rights of the defendants were breached because the trial wasn't completed in a timely manner."
Joseph hinted that, based on the current pace of the trial, with eight days already used to examine two of the prosecution's witnesses and commence with a third, the Lich and Barber trial may not be completed in time.