For the third time in Quebec, a man accused of murder had his charges stayed due to the Jordan ruling.
Van Son Nguyen, 52, was arrested in 2013 and accused of murdering a Montreal man with a machete.
He was charged with second-degree murder.
On Friday, almost four-and-a-half years since Nguyen's arrest, Quebec Superior Court Justice Daniel W. Payette ruled the delay was unreasonable, and said there was no justifiable reason why the case has not yet been before the courts.
The so-called Jordan ruling, a decision issued by the Supreme Court of Canada last July, imposes new deadlines on the justice system to avoid unreasonable trial delays.
Trials involving less serious offences must now be wrapped up within 18 months, and those involving more serious charges, including murder, face a 30-month deadline.
In his judgment, Payette also said that most of the delays were caused by the Crown, and that the seriousness of a crime cannot justify long delays.
On the contrary, Payette wrote, the more serious crimes should be judged by the courts as quickly as possible in order to uphold the public's trust in the justice system.
Although Nguyen's murder charge has been stayed, the Vietnam native is not a free man.
He remains detained by immigration officials. He will be deported to Great Britain, where he was living before he came to Canada as a tourist.
3rd case in Quebec
As of May 18, there were 889 requests for stays of proceedings due to unreasonable delays, according to the Crown.
Sixty-one of them have been granted, three of which were for murder charges.
- 1st Quebecer to have murder charge stayed due to Jordan ruling to remain in detention
- 2nd Quebecer has murder case stayed due to Jordan ruling
The first murder case to be dropped was that of Montreal man Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham. He was accused of murdering his wife, Anuja Baskaran, in 2012.
Thanabalasingham had been waiting almost five years for his case to go to trial. His charges were stayed last month, just days before his trial was finally set to start. The Crown is appealing the decision.
A few weeks later, another murder case was dropped due to an unreasonable delay.
Ryan Wolfson was set to stand trial for the first-degree murder of Pierre-Paul Fortier, who died in October 2012.
Wolfson's trial was set to begin in September 2017 — nearly five years after he was arrested and charged in connection with the deaths of Fortier and a second man.