Joanna Baron, Director of the Runnymede Society and member of Advocates for the Rule of Law, was recently interviewed on CBC Radio to discuss the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in R. v. Jordan. In that case, the Court was unanimous in the result, but split 5-4 on the crucial issue of what test the courts ought to apply in determining whether the right of an accused to a fair trial under section 11(b) of the Charter has been infringed. The minority voted for retaining the framework established in the previous Morin decision (albeit with a “slight reorientation”), while the majority held that the old framework should be abolished in its entirety and replaced with near absolute ceilings of 18 months for cases tried in provincial court and 30 months for cases tried in superior court.
Ms. Baron highlights a number of problems with the majority’s approach, most notably that the majority appears to have come up with these numbers without any input from the parties or interveners who appeared before the Court.
To be sure, the majority was responding to a very real problem with the criminal justice system and it remains to be seen whether their prescription will produce a more efficient and predictable legal order. Whatever the outcome, Ms. Baron highlights for us, eloquently as always, the problems inherent in the majority’s reasoning.
The full interview can be found here.