Crown to appeal stay in Adam Picard's murder trial

Crown lawyers have decided to appeal a controversial Ontario Superior Court ruling to stay a first-degree murder charge over what were deemed unreasonable delays in getting the case to trial.

Murder charge stayed after judge ruled case took too long to go to trial

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

Crown lawyers have decided to appeal a controversial Ontario Superior Court ruling that allowed a man charged with first-degree murder to walk free because it took too long for the case to go to trial.

Adam Picard, 33, had the charge against him stayed Tuesday after Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett blamed the Crown for stalling the case for nearly four years.

Adam Picard, 29, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Fouad Nayel. (CBC News)
Picard was charged with the first degree murder of 28-year-old Fouad Nayel in 2012, and had remained in jail awaiting trial.

Defence lawyers argued for a stay in proceedings in light of the Supreme Court of Canada's new rules governing what constitutes a reasonable time in which an accused should be tried.

Parfett reluctantly agreed, writing in her decision that "the justice system has failed this accused and the public."

AG supports appeal

Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi confirmed the appeal Friday.

Yasir Naqvi, Ontario's attorney general, said he supports the Crown's decision to appeal. (CBC)
"I have been briefed on the matter and I support this decision.‎ As this matter is before the Court of Appeal I cannot comment any further," he said in a statement released Friday.

The Crown is arguing the trial judge erred on a number of grounds, saying she mischaracterized periods of delay in the case and wrongly assessed the case's complexity.

Legal experts say delays getting cases to trial are becoming more common, with Crown lawyers arguing they lack resources, while victims' rights groups fear more outcomes like the one in the Picard case.

Police charged Picard in December 2012 after an investigation into the death of Nayel, who disappeared in June 2012 and whose body was found in a wooded area near Calabogie, Ont., about 100 kilometres west of Ottawa. Police allege Nayel was fatally shot in a drug-related death.

The victim's mother, Nicole Nayel, called Tuesday's ruling a betrayal, saying the justice system failed her family.