The numbers seem to be growing by the day. Ever since the Supreme Court of Canada issued its landmark Jordan ruling on July 2016, the pressure on the justice system seems to be growing. Not a day seems to go by without some horror story about some criminal being let off because of the new deadlines set by the nation’s highest court.
Last July in R. v. Jordan 2016 SCC 27, the SCC criticized the country’s legal system for its “culture of complacency” and the ruling set out new rules for an accused’s right to be tried within a reasonable time frame. The Jordan decision laid down a ceiling of 30 months for matters before Superior Court cases to be completed. Provincial court trials should be completed within 18 months of charges being laid, but can be extended to 30 months if there is a preliminary inquiry.
The Quebec criminal justice is struggling to comply with the new rules, implicitly acknowledged the Quebec Minister of Justice Stéphanie Vallée when she announced the new investments last December.
Now there are hard figures to back up those concerns. The Quebec Director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP) revealed recently that there are 684 Jordan applications as of March 23, 2017, a figure that has tripled in the space of three months. In November 2016, the number of Jordan applications stood at 222. A month later, just before Christmas, they numbered 368.