A judge has denied an application to have convictions in a high-profile Calgary murder case thrown out for “unreasonable delays”.
On Thursday, Justice Glen Poelman turned down the Jordan application for three men convicted in the 2013 swarming death of Lukas Strasser-Hird.
The victim’s father left court with an overwhelming sense of relief.
“It was really nice to see him dismiss it within a minute or two of sitting down,” Dale Hird said. “It was really, really stressful.”
Watch below from July 28: One of the men convicted of killing Lukas Strasser-Hird is asking to be let out of jail-before he’s even officially sentenced for second-degree murder. Nancy Hixt reports.
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.
READ MORE: ‘Unreasonable delays’ put 2 more violent criminal cases in Calgary in jeopardy
In his written decision, Poelman said he had concluded that “the delay in this case should be measured against Jordan’s presumptive ceiling of 30 months for trials conducted in a superior court.”
He noted the delay in this case exceeded that ceiling by less than one month, and said the Crown established a transitional exceptional circumstance applies in this case.
“Now we can get on to the business of deciding the fate of these three men,” Crown prosecutor Ken McCaffrey said outside court.
Watch below from June 16: Two of the five men accused in the 2013 swarming death of Calgary teenager Lukas Strasser-Hird were found guilty of second-degree murder Thursday. Nancy Hixt reports.
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.
In the case of Shlah, the judge calculated the delay in the case to be just five days past the 30-month ceiling. For Pouk, 20 days over, and Cabrera 24 days.
“We are very pleased it appears the court agreed with the Crown on most of the main legal points, meaning the ceiling was never 18 months–it was 30 months,” McCaffrey said. “And that this case would come in under the transition exception that the Supreme Court spelled out in the case of Jordan.”
Shlah and Cabrera face automatic life sentences with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
READ MORE: Jury reaches verdicts in warming death of Calgary’s Lukas Strasser-Hird
The sentencing hearing in the case was delayed by the Jordan application. Two dates have now been set in January.
Watch below from June 17: Lukas Strasser-Hird spent the final year of his life in Bolivia, with his grandfather who had terminal cancer. He returned the very day he was brutally attacked. His family is sharing memories of the teen following the verdict in the trial into his death. Nancy Hixt reports.
On Jan. 9, victim impact statements will be read, including two via video from Bolivia by Strasser-Hird’s mother and grandmother.
“I hope it all works out technically…his mom really needs to be able to say her piece,” Hird said. “She’s devastated.”
“Our family is forever changed and my son was completely innocent. It’s still hard to even think how awesome a kid he was because then it hits you he’s gone.”
Defence teams have already said they will appeal the decision.
“I’m disappointed because I thought this was a pretty sound legal argument to make about the delay,” Shlah’s defence lawyer Balfour Der said.
Der has already filed an appeal based on an “unreasonable verdict” and will also appeal Thursday’s ruling.
“I’m disappointed, I know my client is disappointed and I know his family is disappointed. Everybody gets their hopes up,” Der said.
Der also confirmed once Shlah has been sentenced he will again seek bail, pending the appeal.
The case is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 9.
Hird worries his family will never have a chance to find peace, as appeals could continue for years to come.
“That’s the system that our family struggles with and a lot of people don’t know that that’s how it is. Enough is enough. These kids are still alive; my son is not.”
There are currently seven outstanding Jordan applications filed before the courts in Calgary.