An Airdrie family whose southern Alberta home was ransacked and robbed by vandals says the court case was almost worse than the crime after charges against the accused were dropped because of court delays.

Four years ago, Marla Elms returned from a trip to find her front door kicked in and her home trashed.

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She said her family found vomit, urine and fecal matter around the home, and her dog was injured after being stabbed.

Elms and her husband tracked down the three people they believe destroyed their house, and eventually they were charged.

One of those people pleaded guilty three and a half years ago.

Elms said the case against the others was in court more than 20 times. But after a series of delays, a witness changed her story and the charges were dropped on Monday. 

"All we wanted was a little justice and we didn't get that," she said. 

"They hadn't found a lawyer, they needed to change lawyers, one of them was working, one of them was out of town — it was ridiculous," said Elms.

Delays seen before

It's not the first time a court case has been dropped in Airdrie because of delays.

In November, an Airdrie woman says court delays led to sexual assault charges against the man she accused being dropped. 

The case was brought up in the legislature by area MLA Rob Anderson of the Wildrose Party.

"I want to know what kind of pathetic excuse for a justice system charges an individual for violating an innocent girl for eight years and then denies that victim her day in court," said Anderson at the time.

He claimed a shortage of Crown prosecutors was to blame for the delay, which Alberta Justice denied.