Charge: Assault with a Weapon
The client, M.M., was charged with having assaulted his 12 year old daughter with a belt. One of the conditions of the client's bail required that he was not to communicate with his 12 year old daughter except in accordance with supervised visits arranged through the Children's Aid Society. After retaining my legal services and obtaining disclosure, the client attended in court to schedule a date for his trial. The client's trial was scheduled to take place almost one year later.
The defence eventually proceeded with an application for a stay of proceedings on the basis that the client's right to be tried within a reasonable period of time, as guaranteed by Section 11(b) of the Charter of Rights, had been infringed.
The defence application for a stay of proceedings was granted by the trial Judge who agreed with me that the client's case should have been given priority in trial scheduling since what was at stake was the relationship between the client and the alleged victim and her family. The charge against the client, and the delay in bringing his trial to a conclusion, put considerable stress upon the client and worked an obvious prejudice against him since it created the risk that he would become estranged from his young daughter. The trial Judge entered a stay of proceedings with respect to the charge against the client.
Although the delay in bringing the client's trial to a conclusion was not overly egregious, I was able to convince the trial Judge that the client's case was a special case that should have been given priority in scheduling his trial.