Sudbury·ELLIOT LAKE

Defence attempts to stay charges in Elliot Lake mall collapse trial

A charter application is expected to be heard in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Wednesday in an attempt to stay charges against Robert Wood — two months after closing remarks were made in his trial.

Robert Wood's trial began 32 months after he was arrested for 3 counts of criminal negligence

Former engineer Robert Wood has pleaded not guilty to three charges of criminal negligence in connection to the fatal 2012 Elliot Lake mall collapse. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

A charter application is expected to be heard in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Wednesday in an attempt to stay charges against Robert Wood — two months after closing remarks were made in his trial.

The former engineer declared the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., structurally sound after conducting a visual inspection in April 2012.

Two months later on June 23, 2012, a portion of the shopping centre's rooftop parking deck caved in, and killed Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74, and severely injured Jean-Marie Marceau, 80.

Defence lawyer Robert MacRae is arguing that it took too long for Wood's case to go to trial.

Wood was arrested on Jan. 31, 2014 for two counts of criminal negligence causing death, and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

His trial began 32 months later on Sept. 6, 2016. 
A worn out sign marks the spot where the Algo Centre Mall used to stand in Elliot Lake, Ont., before the fatal 2012 roof collapse. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Wood has pleaded not guilty to the allegations against him.

There can be 'exceptional circumstances'

A charter application can have several outcomes, according to Sudbury lawyer Glenn Sandberg who is not involved in Wood's trial. 

"The court finds that the delay is unreasonable and the charges stayed," Sandberg said. 

"Or if it's a transitional case and there are exceptional circumstances, the court can find that notwithstanding the delay is not excessive and the trial proceeds."

Wood is the only person facing criminal charges in connection to the fatal roof collapse.

A verdict in Wood's trial is scheduled to be delivered on July 25 in Ontario Superior Court.

About the Author

Olivia Stefanovich

Senior reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a senior reporter for CBC's Parliamentary Bureau based in Ottawa. She previously worked in Toronto, Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter at @CBCOlivia. Story tips welcome: olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.