A Calgary judge is being asked to throw out charges against four men accused in a string of Calgary and area grocery store robberies three years ago.
It’s yet another case being challenged over court delays in the province, and many fear this is the only beginning.
A procedural delay over evidence has forced the case to be adjourned until Jan. 2018, four years after the men were arrested.
Lawyer Shamsher Kothari tells Global News charges against their clients should be stayed.
“The charges ought to be stayed because there’s an almost 48 month delay and it’s wholly based on lack of disclosure. The constitutional rights of our clients have been completely infringed.”
The application to stay the charges is based on a Supreme Court ruling that set the framework for how long a case should take, start to finish.
Earlier this month a murder charge was stayed in Edmonton after it took over 62 months to get to trial, more than double what the Supreme Court ruling allows.
Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin tells Global News he fears this is the tip of the iceberg.
“My biggest fear is that justice won’t be served. We have some very violent people, some people who really need to be before the courts , who need to be successfully prosecuted and need to be in jail. They hit the streets again, or that justice isn’t served, then we’re back at re-victimizing people.”
The federal government has hinted that more judge appointments will be made to try to deal with long court delays in Alberta.
A ruling on the stay application will be handed out next month.