Is it time to reinvent Canada's criminal justice system?
We all hope to live in safe communities in this country, and we expect our criminal justice system will help keep us safe by convicting the guilty, protecting the innocent and delivering justice for all.
More from this episode:
- 'We are starving the courts': B.C. legal aid lawyer calls attention to underfunding of justice system
- Jails are not equipped to handle those with mental health problems: Checkup caller
But, Canada's justice system got a swift kick in the pants this week from both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Senate.
The issue, simply put, is that it takes way too long for criminal cases to get to trial. The Supreme Court recognized the problem last year in a case called R v Jordan, in which an accused drug dealer waited over four years to face trial. The court concluded that delay was unreasonable, and set strict new time limits for trials.
Since then, we've seen judges simply throw cases out — some involving charges of murder and sexual assault — on grounds they'd simply taken too long. Across the country, there are more than a thousand applications to have cases stayed.
On Friday, in yet another case about court delays, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right to a timely trial, saying the "culture of complacency" must end.
Against that backdrop, a new Senate report recommended fifty ways to fix Canada's courts, including appointing more judges, overhauling the Criminal Code, and improving health services for those who suffer with mental health and addictions.
What do you think? Are governments working fast enough to fix Canada's courts? Can justice be done in timely fashion and still be thorough and fair?
Our question today: Is it time to re-invent Canada's criminal justice system?
Mother of Fouad Nayel, whose five-year-old murder case never went to trial and is now before the Ontario Court of Appeal
Justice reporter at The Globe and Mail
A man who has experience the criminal justice system and prison firsthand in Canada. He now supports prisiners with mental health problems and addiction issues in Saskatoon
Deputy chair of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee who released this week's report on court delays. He is the longest serving parliamentarian in Canada.
Defence lawyer and Partner at the Addario Law Group LLP. She is also Counsel for the Criminal Lawyers Association in R. v. Cody, the most recent Supreme Court of Canada case examining the right to a speedy trial.
- Canada's court of last resort gets rare do-over to reform justice system: Chris Hall
- Criminal courts scramble to meet Supreme Court's new trial timelines
- Frivolous motions not the cause of court delays, Ottawa defence lawyers say
- 'A very strong message': N.L. drug case leads to national instructions on court delays
- Murder, sex assault cases among those tossed due to delays in Canadian courts
- Sex assault cases in Alberta collapse due to excessive delays
- Defence lawyers urge Supreme Court not to waver on steps to tackle justice system delays
- Ottawa judge stays 1st-degree murder charge over trial delay
- 'Action is desperately needed': Senators recommend 50 ways to fix Canada's courts
- Midweek podcast: Senate tries to deal with 'out of whack' court delays
- Functionally bilingual requirement for Supreme Court justices here to stay, says Wilson-Raybould
The Globe and Mail
- Tens of thousands of criminal trials may be tossed if delays not addressed, Senate report warns
- Christie Blatchford: Senate report on court delays gets at big truths about criminal justice system
Senate of Canada