Her Majesty the Queen v. Marc-André Boulanger

(Quebec) (Criminal) (As of Right)


Charter of Rights - Right to be tried within a reasonable time - Criminal law - Whether majority erred in law in refusing to subtract 84 day delay for which respondent admitted being responsible and which was attributable to his conduct - Whether majority erred in law in interfering with trial judge’s decision to attribute to respondent 112-day delay caused by fact that his lawyer was unavailable, even though that finding was within judge’s discretion.


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The respondent, Marc-André Boulanger, faced four charges laid under, among other things, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The Court of Québec granted the respondent’s motion for a stay of proceedings for unreasonable delay under s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and entered a stay of proceedings on the four charges. The trial judge found a net delay of 32 months and 10 days, which was therefore above the presumptive ceiling of 30 months.

The majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the prosecution’s appeal from the Court of Québec’s decision. Although the majority’s analysis differed from that of the trial judge with regard to the delay related to the unavailability of the respondent’s lawyer, the majority was of the view that the trial judge had correctly stayed the proceedings and agreed with the judge’s overall assessment of the main cause of the delay in the progress of this case: the absence of a carefully crafted prosecution plan. Chamberland J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal, set aside the Court of Québec’s decision, dismissed the respondent’s motion for a stay of proceedings, and referred the case back to the same judge for a decision on the outcome of the trial. In his view, 84 days had to be added to the defence delay, resulting in a net delay below the applicable 30 month ceiling.

Lower Court Rulings

November 21, 2019
Court of Quebec

Motion for stay of proceedings allowed
May 18, 2021
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Montréal)

2021 QCCA 815, 500-10-007244-195
Appeal dismissed