One of the questions that clients often ask their lawyers in the criminal justice system: “why is my case taking so long?”
Right from the very first interview, our staff and lawyers will explain that the wheels of justice unfortunately grind very slowly. Our courts are very tied up with cases, we don’t have enough crown attornies, there’s not enough resources, we don’t get disclosure in a timely way, it takes time to negotiate, it takes times to set things for guilty pleas, have judicial pre-trials. And takes months and monthes – sometimes years – to get a case to trial.
And the Supreme Court has talked about delay in this issue, so at least now we have parameters for maximum delay. I’ve talked about this in some of my other videos in detail, in terms of timelines of the system, but this needs to be carefully explained to clients because they think that we get the disclosure and we just go plead guilty on day one or the trial’s going to be two months down the road.
It doesn’t work that way. There’s many steps to the process – meetings with the crown, meetings with the client, meetings with judges, and there’s all sorts of paperwork to be filled out and things to be done.
And unfortunately, we don’t have enough judges in this province in my view, and maybe not enough crown attornies to process the cases as expedition as possible.
I know the province is trying to deal with that now, the Supreme Court of Canada has set timelines, and we’re doing the best we can, it takes taxpayer resources and time and effort and I appreciate the effort the government’s now making on this but I just wanted to get across this to clients so they understand “why are we now a year into my case and the trial hasn’t taken place?” It’s just that we don’t have enough resources in the province to have a trial earlier than that.