An Alberta man’s first-degree murder charges have been thrown out after delays in the case going to trial, according to court documents obtained by Global News.
In a surprise ruling that could be precedent-setting, Lance Matthew Regan had his charge of first-degree murder stayed on Friday, Oct. 7.
Justice S.D. Hillier ruled Regan’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated—specifically his right to be tried within a “reasonable time.”
Mason Tex Montgrand, 21, was stabbed to death at the Edmonton Institution in August 2011.
Regan was a fellow inmate at the correctional facility.
The case was scheduled to go to trial beginning Oct. 17, 2016.
The original application brought forward by Regan’s defence pointed to a time lapse between the initial charge and the expected conclusion of trial, calculated at 62.5 months.
Hillier’s ruling cites the landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling R. vs Jordan, which set out a new framework for determining whether a criminal trial has been unreasonably delayed.
According to the Jordan ruling framework, an unreasonable delay would be presumed should proceedings — from the date of charge to conclusion of a trial — exceed 18 months in provincial court, or 30 months in superior court.
The R. vs Jordan ruling also notes there can be exceptional circumstances in “particularly complex” cases that would allow for an exception to this.
But in Hillier’s ruling, he concludes the Regan case did not qualify as “exceptional” and ruled Regan’s charter right has been violated.
A stay of proceedings was immediately entered on Regan’s charge of first-degree-murder last Friday.