Judge says second-degree murder case not unreasonably delayed

Defence lawyer argued Red Deer man’s trial will take place outside Supreme Court 30-month deadline

A Red Deer judge ruled on Monday that the case of a man charged with second-degree murder is not taking unreasonably long to get to trial.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Bill Hopkins ruled that when all delays were factored in the case the 30-month threshold will not have been reached if Daniel Boyd Sawyer’s trial goes ahead as scheduled in November.

Under a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision, a deadline of 18 months has been set for a case to go from charge to trial in most provincial court cases and 30 months in higher courts. In what is known as the Jordan decision, the country’s top court calls for dismissal of cases that have been subject to unreasonable delays.

Sawyer, 33, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of Alan Beach, 31, during a brawl outside the Village Mall pub in November 2015.

He turned himself in nine days later and has been in custody since. He has pleaded not guilty and a jury trial is set to run Nov. 13-30 in Red Deer.

A number of cases involving serious charges have been dismissed across Canada following Jordan applications.

In April, an alleged gang leader facing first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and instructing a criminal organization charges was allowed to walk free after a Calgary judge issued a stay saying the trial did not take place within a reasonable time.

The Sawyer case has also included issues around disclosure — the evidence Crown prosecutors will use to support their case.

Earlier this month, Hopkins rejected a defence application to have Sawyer’s charge stayed over evidence issues. It was the third unsuccessful non-disclosure application in the case.

Lawyer Chris Archer argued Crown prosecutors had failed to turn over all of the evidence they are required to by law.

Crown prosecutors said all necessary disclosure had been turned over and no stay is warranted.

The reasons for the judge’s decisions in the Jordan and non-disclosure applications are subject to a publication ban.



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