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By Hempology | May 10, 2008

Fri, 02 May 2008
Comox Valley Echo (CN BC)
Author: Marcel Tetrault


Charges have been dropped against two men accused of trafficking pot because of an excessive delay in bringing the case to trial.

Arthur Dean Nelson, a 34-year-old Surrey man, and Daniel Jacob Wood, a 25-year-old man from Gibsons, were both charged with trafficking marijuana and possessing break-in instruments in Courtenay in January of 2006.

A trial date had been set for January 16, 2007, but it was cancelled as there was no judge scheduled to sit on that date.  A new trial was set for March 20.

On March 14, Crown applied to adjourn that trial date as there were no Crown lawyers available on March 20.

“There was no explanation put before the court as to why Crown did not have prosecutorial resources to proceed with this case on the date set,” said Judge Peter Doherty in his reasons for judgment on the case.

“Crown Federal seems to have a plethora of prosecutors who regularly appear before this court.  Why another prosecutor could not have assumed the conduct of this file remains a mystery.”

A new trial date was set for November 23 of last year, but on the trial date, defence counsel made application for a judicial stay on the grounds that Nelson and Wood’s Charter right to trial without delay had been breached.

“I have no hesitation in determining that both accused have experienced significant prejudice because of delay,” said Doherty in his judgment.  “It is the Crown’s constitutional obligation to bring matters to trial without delay.

“In my view, delay was inordinate in the case at bar.”

Doherty stayed both of the charges against both men at the end of January this year.

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