A Superior Court judge in Gatineau has ruled against staying three charges of first-degree murder against Shakti Ramsurrun, rejecting a defence lawyer's argument that the near five-year delay getting to trial has been unreasonable.
Ramsurrun, 33, is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, 21-year-old Anne-Catherine Powers, her mother, 63-year-old Louise LeBoeuf, and LeBoeuf's partner, 58-year-old Claude Lévesque, at a home in Aylmer, Que., in May 2012.
The trial is expected to begin in early April 2017, nearly five years after the charges against Ramsurrun were first laid.
A landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling that has come to be known as the Jordan decision recently set new rules for an accused's right to be tried within a reasonable time frame, and Ramsurrun's defence lawyer filed a motion to stay the charges based on the ruling.
Trial delays of more than 30 months in Superior Court, or 18 months in provincial courts, are now "presumptively unreasonable" and violate the accused's charter right to be tried within a reasonable time, according to the Jordan decision, which came down in July.
If the Supreme Court's new time frames are missed, the onus is on the Crown to argue the delays were caused by exceptional circumstances that were either reasonably unforeseen or beyond the Crown's control — such as a medical or family emergency.
In this case, defence lawyer Richard Dubé had argued that limited resources and courtroom availability in the Gatineau courthouse were to blame. They had to wait about 10 months for a preliminary inquiry, and in 2015 a trial date was set for 2017, Dubé said.
Justice Éric Downs announced his rejection of the motion in court in Gatineau Thursday morning.