In Ste. Marie, the Court considered recent developments in the law on section 11(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees all defendants the right to have a trial within a reasonable time. The charges pre-dated the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in R. v. Jordan, which created a new legal framework for deciding when there is unreasonable delay. The unique chronology of the case required the Court to reconcile the old and new approaches for assessing delay.
In Ste. Marie, the Attorney General of Ontario asked to re-open the question of the proper remedy for unreasonable delay. The Supreme Court decided in Jordan that a stay of proceedings was the only appropriate remedy. The Supreme Court declined Ontario’s invitation to revisit the question of remedy in Ste. Marie. As Frank told the Lawyer’s Daily:
“The Court did not change the rule that the judge should stay charges after the state violates s. 11(b). […] The rule is closely linked to how the new ceilings work under Jordan. […] Ontario should be thanking the Court for Jordan, because it increased permissible delay from nine and 18 months to 18 and 30 months. If an Attorney General can’t plan around those limits they should rethink their approach to running a criminal justice program.”
Frank and Sherif Foda represented one of the Respondents on the appeal in Ste. Marie. Frank was involved in previous cases on section 11(b) at the Supreme Court of Canada, including as counsel to the intervener Criminal Lawyers’ Association in R. v. Jordan and to the Appellant in R. v. Cody.