Advertisement

Alberta police watchdog ‘disturbed’ criminal case thrown out for unreasonable delay

Click to play video: 'Alberta police watchdog ‘disturbed’ criminal case thrown out for unreasonable delay' Alberta police watchdog ‘disturbed’ criminal case thrown out for unreasonable delay
WATCH ABOVE: Executive director of ASIRT Susan Hughson says she wasn’t contacted when a violent criminal case in Calgary was thrown out over unreasonable delays. She explains her interaction with the Crown on the case – Nov 23, 2016

Alberta’s police watchdog admitted Wednesday its team is experiencing delays in writing and reviewing reports while addressing Calgary’s ninth police-involved shooting of the year, but said it was never contacted when a violent criminal case was thrown out over unreasonable delays.

READ MORE: Alberta murder case thrown out over trial delays; experts warn system on verge of collapse

“I was not spoken to, nobody contacted me before the [Jason] Harron charges were stayed,” Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) executive director Susan Hughson said Wednesday.

“No concerns with respect to ASIRT’s disclosure in that particular case were brought to my attention before those charges were stayed.”

Jason Harron was charged with a long string of offences, including criminal negligence causing bodily harm, after an incident with police in northwest Calgary in May of 2013.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Recent officer-involved shootings raising questions about police watchdog’s role

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling earlier this year set new rules for how long a case can take from start to finish. The decision is called R v. Jordan and any applications made citing its time guidelines are now called “Jordan applications.” There are seven outstanding Jordan applications before the courts in Calgary, including two murder cases and one conspiracy to commit murder case.

The Crown consented to stay the charges in Harron’s case Nov. 3 after his defence team filed such an application.

“I can tell you we are extremely disturbed that that occurred in such a serious case and if ASIRT contributed to those charges being stayed, we want to know about it,” Hughson said, adding she’s in an ongoing conversation with the Crown’s office.

Hughson said ASIRT disclosed its entire file within 20 days of the Crown’s request for disclosure.

“The difficulty is it’s not that simple,” she said. “There needs to be better communication between the Crown’s office and ASIRT and there’s going to be.”

Hughson added a protocol is in the works so that the Crown’s office notifies ASIRT and makes a request for disclosure as soon as a trial date has been set.

A Global News request to the Crown’s office was not immediately answered by publication time.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: ‘Murderers will be released’ – Canadian senator describes justice system in crisis  

With files from Nancy Hixt

Sponsored content