An application is underway to have convictions in a high-profile Calgary murder case thrown out, citing “unreasonable delays.”
Defence lawyer Gavin Wolch told Justice Glen Poelman the issue is “whether it’s reasonable to take three years…without a preliminary inquiry.”
A sentencing hearing has been delayed until Justice Poelman can hear and rule on the Jordan application.
A Supreme Court of Canada ruling earlier this year set new rules for how long a case can take from start to finish.
The case was R. vs. Jordan. Any applications made citing its time guidelines are now called “Jordan applications.”
Under the new rules, an unreasonable delay would be presumed should proceedings exceed 18 months in provincial court or 30 months in superior court from the date of charge to conclusion of a trial.
Eighteen-year-old Strasser-Hird was kicked, beaten and stabbed to death outside of Vinyl nightclub in November 2013.
In June, a Calgary jury found Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera guilty of second-degree murder. The jury found Joch Pouk guilty of manslaughter.
Shlah and Cabrera face automatic life sentences with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
There are several areas R. vs. Jordan left open for debate, including what defines a “trial” i.e. from charge date until conviction or charge date until sentencing is complete.
The Jordan ruling also didn’t set rules specific to direct indictment cases that go straight to trial without a preliminary inquiry.
The defence teams submitted Strasser-Hird’s case is not an exceptional case in which unreasonable delays would be justified.
“This was not a criminal organization fraud case,” Wolch argued.
One Alberta murder case has already been thrown out under Jordan.
Lance Matthew Regan had his charge of first-degree murder stayed on Oct. 7 after the case took more than five years to go to trial.
Alberta Justice is appealing that ruling.