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Supreme Court agrees to hear case on how Jordan ruling applies to second trials

MONTREAL — The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear a case that could establish how the so-called Jordan ruling applies to cases where a new trial is ordered.

The case involves a 73-year-old Quebec man who was acquitted of sexual assault in 2017 -- 72 months after he was first charged. 

Prosecutors appealed the decision and a new trial was ordered in 2018. According to a Court of Appeal ruling, the accused asked for a stay of proceedings due to an unreasonable delay in 2019, which was granted by the trial judge.

Prosecutors appealed that decision to the Quebec Court of Appeals, which ruled that the delays in a first and second trial should be considered separately but that the delays in the first trial were sufficient to justify the stay of proceedings. 

The Crown appealed that decision and is now asking the Supreme Court to decide how the Jordan ruling applies to completed trials and whether the accused gave up his ability to invoke his right to a speedy trial by not bringing it up during the initial trial or the first appeal.

The Jordan rule requires cases in superior court be tried within 30 months, unless there are extenuating circumstances. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021.

Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press

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