R. v. Seegmiller
Unreported (December 9, 2004)
The respondant was charged with sexual assault. It was alleged that he raped a young woman who attended a party at his home. The Crown contended that the complainant passed out after she had to much to drink and awoke to find Seegmiller Raping her. Unfortunatly, there was a delay of about 7 months in moving this case to trial occasioned by late Crown disclosure. However, as matters stand at present there will never be a trial on the merits. The trial judge held that despite no real prejudice to Seegmiller flowing from the delay, Seegmiller's right to trial within a reasonable time had been denied, necessitating a stay of proceedings. (overall delay was 27 months from arrest).
"Based on all the factors, I conclude that the overall delay in this case, although clearly not desirable was not unreasonable and that s. 11(b) was not infringed. Sopinka J.'s cautionary words in Morin at p 24 bar repetiton: ""the purpose of s. 11(b) is to expedite trials and minimize prejudice and not to avoid trials on the merits."" A proper balancing of Seegmiller's s. 11(b) right to be tried within a reasonable time against the strong societal interest in ensuring that he is tried for the offense charged demands that the stay be set aside and a trial be held. I would allow the appeal."