Verdict expected next month in disclosure case

A provincial court judge will give his verdict next month concerning accusations of intentional misconduct against the Crown prosecutor’s office in Red Deer. Defence counsel Maurice Collard made an application in Red Deer provincial court on Monday for a cash settlement from the Crown. Collard alleged that key evidence was withheld from him in connection with criminal proceedings against one of his clients, who is in custody and awaiting trial.

A provincial court judge will give his verdict next month concerning accusations of intentional misconduct against the Crown prosecutor’s office in Red Deer.

Defence counsel Maurice Collard made an application in Red Deer provincial court on Monday for a cash settlement from the Crown. Collard alleged that key evidence was withheld from him in connection with criminal proceedings against one of his clients, who is in custody and awaiting trial.

In his application, held before Judge Jim Hunter, Collard stated that his client, Robert Kilpatrick, was denied due process because the Crown did not provide defence with a copy of certain disclosure it planned to use against his client in time for a bail hearing set for March 16.

Collard said volumes of disclosure was withheld and was not produced until later that day. The bail hearing (also known as a show cause or judicial interim release hearing) was adjourned that day and attempted again on the day after. Bail was eventually denied for his client.

That hearing could have gone as scheduled had the missing disclosure been provided in a more timely fashion, argued Collard.

“Mr. Kilpatrick didn’t have a meaningful show cause, because he didn’t have meaningful disclosure. He was denied a meaningful opportunity to have a show cause that he has a right to,” said Collard.

He asked for $500 to compensate Kilpatrick, plus $92.40 and $924 in legal fees paid by the Legal Aid Society. He cited a previous case — the Crown versus Singh — in which an award of $580,000 in punitive damages was sought.

Those remedies are important, said Collard, in fleshing out and correcting a systemic problem within the Crown prosecutors office in Red Deer.

“The lack of disclosure is not an administrative issue. It is a human issue,” he said.

Michelle Doyle, Edmonton-based Chief Crown Prosecutor for the province, argued that Collard’s application trivializes remedies available under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that Kilpatrick’s right to a fair trial was never breached.

She said Collard’s efforts to enter disclosure delays in other proceedings as evidence had no bearing on Kilpatrick’s case.

“This is not a case of legal whack-a-mole, where we use the right to disclosure not as a sword, but as a shield,” said Doyle.

She said Collard presented “no hint” of any other remedies as alternatives to the monetary package he proposed, and that there is no basis for his “stunning allegation of intentional misconduct.”

Hunter said at the conclusion of their arguments that he would not make an immediate decision, but that a written decision would be provided later on and in time for Kilpatrick’s trial.

Kilpatrick remains in custody pending the outcome of his trial, set for Red Deer provincial court on May 17.

He is charged with multiple offences, including robbery, conspiracy to commit a major offence, uttering threats, pointing a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful use of a firearm.

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