Adam Picard eyes Supreme Court appeal after new murder trial ordered

Adam Picard, the former Canadian soldier accused of murder who had his trial thrown out due to court delays, is appealing to Canada's highest court to overturn a recent appeal court's decision to order a new trial.

Ontario Court of Appeal ordered new murder trial for Ottawa man on Sept. 7

Adam Picard was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Fouad Nayel in 2012, but walked out of court a free man in 2016 after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled court delays violated his right to a timely trial. (CBC)

Adam Picard, the former Canadian soldier accused of murder who had his trial thrown out due to court delays, is planning to launch an appeal to Canada's highest court to overturn a recent appeal court decision that ordered a new trial. 

On Monday, 11 days after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the accused killer should stand trial again, defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon told an Ottawa judge he intends to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Picard was charged in December, 2012, in the death of construction worker Fouad Nayel who went missing in June of that year. The 28-year-old's remains were found in a wooded area near Calabogie, Ont., approximately 100 kilometres west of Ottawa. 

Construction worker Fouad Nayel's body was found in a wooded area near Calabogie, Ont., months after he disappeared in June 2012. (CBC)

Picard walked away a free man last November when Justice Julianne Parfett ruled the nearly four years it took to get his first-degree murder trial started violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Her ruling came just as jury selection was about to begin. 

The judge relied on a Supreme Court of Canada ruling, known as the Jordan decision, which set strict new limits on how long trials should be completed in Superior and provincial courts. In her decision Justice Parfett ruled "the thread that runs through the present case is the culture of complacency that the Supreme Court condemned."

But earlier this month, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled there was not enough time between the issuance of the Jordan decision and the beginning of the trial for the Crown in the case to react and adapt.

"After weighing all of the factors, however, I am of the view that the appeal should be allowed. The delay above the presumptive Jordan ceiling is justified by the transitional exceptional circumstance," Justices Paul Rouleau, David Doherty and Sarah Pepall wrote in their decision. 

Picard turned himself in to police the day after the ruling earlier this month after spending almost a year out of jail. 

New trial scheduled for spring 2018

Once his defence team formally files an application, the Supreme Court will then decide whether or not it will hear the case. 

Meanwhile, Greenspon and assistant Crown attorney Dallas Mack set aside six weeks in spring 2018 for the accused killer's new trial which will proceed while the appeal is being considered. Picard is now set to stand trial beginning in the week of April 3, 2018 in Ottawa.

The latest twist in the five-year-old case comes just as the Nayel family had celebrated on Sept. 7 what they said was justice for their son, who they last saw on Father's Day in 2012. 

"This is the first time I actually laughed and smiled in over five years. It's like I had a thousand-pound weight on my back and it's just lifted," said Amine Nayel, Fouad's father. 

With files from Judy Trinh