R v. George

In Aboriginal Rights/Defences, Fish Cases, Miscellaneous, Offences on (Updated )

This case involved a charge against a First Nations defendant of offering to sell fish that was not caught under the authority of a fishing licence. At the commencement of the trial, the defence made an application for a judicial stay on the grounds that, “[t]hese delays have caused our clients, one of whom is an elder, considerable expense both in legal fees resulting in attending the extra various pre-trial hearings, and emotional hardship in having to wait almost 21 months from the time of the alleged offence to the day of trial” (para. 20). The court applied the test set out in R. v. Morin [1992] 1 S.C.R. 771 and found a prima facie case of delay. However, upon going to the second stage of balancing the defence need for a speedy trial against societies interest in bringing a accused person to trial, the stay was rejected on the grounds that no serious prejudice had been established. With respect to prejudice, the court said:

No evidence was offered of ongoing stress or damage to reputation resulted from the pending trial;
As discussed in R. v. Marin [2000] B.C.J. No. 1515 at para. 19, there was no evidence of significant legal fees linked to the delays or business statements showing a decline in revenue, or doctor’s reports outlining symptoms of stress or anxiety.