A Lethbridge judge has dismissed a Jordan application in a careless driving case during pre-trial proceedings on Thursday.
The judge ruled on the basis the defence itself was responsible for too many of the delays.
The 2016 Jordan decision establishes timelines for trials. It states if a trial doesn’t begin within 18 months of charges being laid through the provincial court, those charges can be thrown out.
The defendant in this case, Neil Martin Skojdt, is charged with careless driving under the Traffic Safety Act stemming from an incident in April 2020 when the SUV he was driving hit 10-year-old Charles McIntyre.
According to police, McIntyre and his family had been using a crosswalk near Aquitania Boulevard and Whoop-Up Drive properly when the vehicle struck him, and were in no way at fault.
McIntyre later died in hospital.
Skjodt was charged the next month and pled not guilty six months later.
His lawyer, Greg White argued even with delays caused on their part, the trial was set to commence 18 months and one week after charges were laid, putting it over the allowed time outlined by the Jordan decision.
However, the judge determined a further period of at least two months and one week between Oct. 7, 2020, and April 7, 2021 was due to a defence delay, putting them under the threshold for Jordan.
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It was determined Skjodt’s charter rights were not violated, with the trial set to go forward from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 as planned.
The judge came to his decision without needing to hear the Crown’s arguments.
“All we want is just for Charles to have a voice, and the only way to do that is at the court with a trial,” said the boy’s aunt Kara Dyer following the pre-trial Thursday.
“It was stressful going in to today knowing that the trial could have potentially been dismissed, and so it felt like a small win for us today, for sure.”
Between Oct. 25, 2016 and March 31, 2022, a total of 391 Jordan applications have been filed in Alberta. Forty have been granted, with three of those being appeals by the Crown.
The charge is not criminal in nature, and White also argued the autopsy report should not be submitted in trial.
The defence said the death was not relevant to the careless driving charge and only evidence of injury would be needed in court.
More written submissions will be made in that matter before the judge decides whether or not to allow the inclusion of the autopsy report and testimony from the medical examiner.
McIntyre would have turned 13 years old on July 15. His family wore his favourite colour, green, while in court.
-With files from Emily Olsen & Erik Bay