A Lacombe man facing first-degree murder and kidnapping charges, whose lawyer says has already faced unreasonable trial delays, left court again on Monday without a trial date.
Red Deer lawyer Michael Scrase appeared in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday to set two court dates, including a trial date for Shayne Earl Gulka, who has been charged in connection with the death of an Eckville man in 2006.
Gulka was arrested and charged in March 2016 for his role in the death of Bradley William Webber, 46, who died of multiple gunshot wounds in October 2006.
However, the court heard that schedules for the judges who could hear the case are not available yet, meaning no trial date could be set.
Scrase told the court the defence has not been the source of delays in setting a trial date.
“This is a systemic delay, not on the defence and not necessarily on the Crown,” said Scrase.
He has already served notice he intends to argue that the case has already taken too long to get to trial and charges should be stayed.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2016 trials in higher courts must happen within 30 months of charges being laid. 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.
Under that standard, Gulka’s trial should happen by Sept. 9.
Scrase has also blamed Crown prosecutors for failing to turn over thousands of pages of relevant evidence, known as disclosure, until recently. The omissions amount to an “abuse of process” he argued in a previous court appearance.
A Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench justice is expected to hear defence applications related to the trial delays and disclosure issues in September, when nine days have been set aside.
In the meantime, the case returns to court on July 9, when it is hoped trial dates can be set.