Dia ‘Eddin Hanan v. His Majesty the King
(Ontario) (Criminal) (As of Right)
Canadian charter (Criminal) - Criminal law, Right to be tried within a reasonable time (s. 11(b)), Charge to jury - Charter of Rights — Criminal law — Trial delay — Right to be tried within a reasonable time — Transitional exceptional circumstance — Charge to jury — Whether the trial judge erred by concluding that the transitional exceptional circumstance justified the presumptively unreasonable delay in the appellant’s trial — Whether the trial judge misdirected the jury with respect to the presumption of innocence and burden of proof — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 11(b).
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On December 24, 2015, the appellant was charged with crimes relating to the shooting of two individuals. The appellant’s jury trial for second degree murder, attempted murder and assorted firearm charges was scheduled to commence on November 5, 2018. However, it was adjourned to October 28, 2019. The appellant applied for a stay of proceedings for violation of his right to be tried within a reasonable time under s. 11(b) of the Charter. The trial judge dismissed his application holding that, although the net delay exceeded the ceiling of 30 months under Jordan, it was justified because this was a transitional case where the transitional exceptional circumstance applied. The appellant was acquitted of second degree murder and convicted of manslaughter in connection with the victim who died. He was acquitted of attempted murder but convicted of discharging a firearm with intent to wound in connection with the second victim and of possession of a restricted firearm without a license. The appellant appealed the convictions and alleged that the trial judge erred in dismissing the s. 11(b) application and in his instructions to the jury on how they should approach the evidence in this case. The majority of the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed the appeal. It found that the delay was justified by the transitional exceptional circumstance and that the trial judge’s assessment of the entire delay under the Morin framework was required as part of the transitional exceptional circumstance analysis. Further, the majority concluded that the impugned passages of the jury charge did not reveal error. Nordheimer J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal, set aside the convictions, and ordered a stay of proceedings. He found that the trial judge erred on his reliance of the transitional exceptional circumstance to excuse the delay and that the Crown had ample time to adapt to the Jordan framework. Moreover, he found that there was a serious error in the trial judge’s instructions to the jury.
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