Delay in first-degree murder trial did not violate prisoner's rights, appeal court rules
Lance Matthew Regan must stand trial in stabbing death of fellow inmate at Edmonton Institution
A federal prisoner will stand trial for first-degree murder more than a year after an Edmonton judge stayed the charge, ruling his constitutional rights had been violated due to excessive delays in getting to trial.
The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that Lance Matthew Regan's rights were not violated and ordered him to stand trial.
Regan was accused of fatally stabbing Mason Tex Montgrand, a fellow inmate at Edmonton Institution, in 2011.
Five years later, on the eve of his trial in November 2016, the judge granted a stay of proceedings citing the "Jordan decision."
In the so-called Jordan framework, there is a "presumptive ceiling" of 30 months between when charges are laid and trial in superior court begins. Any timeline beyond that period puts onus on the Crown to prove the delays were due to case complexity or unavoidable circumstances.
In October 2016, Justice Stephen Hillier found the Crown did not meet that burden of proof in Regan's case, making it the first murder charge to be stayed in Canada following the "Jordan decision."
Hillier granted the stay despite the fact that Regan had contributed to about 40 per cent of the five-year delay. Regan had dismissed two lawyers and had three separate trial dates scheduled.
Fifteen months after Alberta Justice appealed the stay, the appeal court ruled that virtually all of the delay accrued in the case was prior to the release of the Jordan decision, and "it is presumed that the Crown and defence relied on the previous law until Jordan was released."
"In our view, the release of Jordan did not 'transform what would previously have been considered a reasonable
delay into an unreasonable one,' " the court said in a written decision.
The court urged both parties to bring the matter to trial as soon as possible.
Regan remains in prison.