If You Are Accused of a Crime in Calgary, You Have the Right to a Speedy Trial

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If you have been accused of a crime in Calgary and your case takes too long to get to court, your lawyer can file an application to have the charges stayed.  An experienced defence lawyer knows how and when to file an application to protect your rights.

Last month, a first-degree murder case was stayed after it took more than five years to go to trial. There are at least seven other applications pending in Alberta to stay legal charges. Four of those cases are in Calgary, including two murder cases.  Calgary charges stayed — more details here.

The Supreme Court Sets Timeline that Helps Protect Defendants Right to a Speedy Trial

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling last year set new rules for how long a case can take from start to finish. The decision is called R vs. Jordan and any applications made citing its time guidelines are now called Jordan applications.

In its ruling last year, the Supreme Court of Canada is essentially saying that if you are accused of a crime, you have a right to a trial within a set period of time.  Superior Court cases will now have up to 30 months to be completed, from the time the charge is laid to the conclusion of a trial.  Provincial court trials should be completed within 18 months of charges being laid.

Said the Supreme Court, “A culture of complacency towards delay has emerged in the criminal justice system. “This court has a role to play in changing courtroom culture and facilitating a more efficient justice system.”  Read the full article.

If that 18 month or 30 month time period is reached, the Crown can still try to show the delay was not unreasonable.  For example, they may say the delay was caused by exceptional circumstances beyond the Crown’s control. This may include an unpredictable event in the case or a particularly complex case that encompasses a large number of documents or witnesses, many charges over a long period of time, multiple defendants or complex legal issues.  Again, this is where you need an experienced criminal lawyer to protect you every step of the way, arguing with the Crown on procedures or timelines that are not reasonable.

If my charges are stayed, am I free and clear?

Stayed charges can be reinstated within one year of the day they are stayed, though this tends to be a rare occurrence.  If, however, your lawyer is successful in getting your charges withdrawn, then the prosecution of those charges is completely finished and those same charges can never be brought back.

How Your Defence Lawyer Can Help


A successful criminal defence demands a complete understanding of the Crown’s case, from the legal structure of the charges to the limits of the evidence gathered to the common tactics prosecutors use to achieve convictions.

Calgary criminal lawyer Maureen McConaghy is committed to defending the people of Calgary and the surrounding region when they’ve been accused of a crime.  With experience on both sides of the courtroom, Maureen is qualified to offer clients a comprehensive defence against any criminal charge.  She’ll find the flaws in the Crown’s case and make sure you get the strong and thorough defence you deserve.