The Supreme Court of Canada on April 25, 2014 in Ottawa. The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear the case of a Yukon man whose sentence was more than doubled after the Crown appealed his original one. (Adrian Wyld/CP file)

No new rules needed to ensure timely youth justice, Supreme Court says

Charter of Rights and Freedoms says someone charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time

The Supreme Court of Canada says there is no need for new rules to ensure timely justice when young people are charged with crimes.

The 5-4 decision came today as the high court dismissed the appeal of a young Albertan who was convicted of aggravated assault and possession of a dangerous weapon.

He had applied for, but was denied, a stay of proceedings even though more than 18 months had elapsed since he was charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act at age 15.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms says someone charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time.

Under a framework established three years ago, an unreasonable delay is presumed if proceedings — from the criminal charge to conclusion of a trial — exceed 18 months in provincial court, or 30 months in superior court.

The youth, known only as K.J.M. due to his age, argued the delay in his case had not been properly assessed under the framework but his challenge was dismissed by Alberta’s Court of Appeal — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court.

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