Speed up prosecution of Quebec City mosque shooter, judge warns Crown

Crown lawyers prosecuting the suspect in the Quebec City mosque attack have been reminded not to drag their feet if they want to avoid having the case against Alexandre Bissonnette tossed out for excessive delays.

Crown is reminded Jordan ruling means suspect could walk if trial not timely

Alexandre Bissonnette, seen here in a file photo, arriving at the Quebec City courthouse. (CTV)

Crown lawyers prosecuting the suspect in the Quebec City mosque attack have been reminded to hurry up if they want to avoid having their case tossed out for excessive delays. 

Quebec Court Judge Jean-Louis Lemay expressed his concern about prosecutors seeking a three-month delay Monday to give them more time to gather evidence to bring Alexandre Bissonnette to trial.

Bissonnette, 27, was arrested on the night of the Jan. 29 shooting. He is charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm.

Lemay reminded the Crown that according to case law, it has to be "proactive" in ensuring a speedy trial. 

In a controversial decision last year, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that suspects accused of serious crimes — such as murder — must be tried within 30 months. 

Both sides in the case were in court today to schedule Bissonnette's next court appearance. They agreed on Sept. 8.  

Lemay pointed out that by Sept. 8, "seven months will have passed without a request for a bail hearing" on the five attempted murder charges.

That said, Bissonnette's defence lawyer, Charles-Olivier Gosselin, retorted that it was "illusory thinking to think we will be asking for a bail hearing [on the attempted murder charges] given the first six charges [of first-degree murder]."

3 Quebec murder suspects have walked, so far

During today's brief court appearance, Bissonnette's lawyer was given a USB key containing new evidence about the shooting.

But other evidence, such as ballistics reports, lab results and information the RCMP is trying to extract from Bissonnette's computer, is still not ready to be filed in court.

"It's a lengthy investigation given the gravity of what happened," said prosecutor Thomas Jacques.

Jacques said the Jordan ruling is a "daily preoccupation," especially since the Crown would be considered responsible for the delay in disclosure. 

In Quebec, so far, three murder suspects have had charges stayed under the so-called Jordan ruling. 

With files from Catou MacKinnon