Alleged online dating fraud stayed under Jordan
RESULT: Charges Stayed
LAWYER: Sean Fagan
Regina v. X.X. – September 2018
Charges: Section 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada et al
X.X. and a co-accused were alleged to have defrauded a number of individuals in a large-scale theft/fraud scheme that used online dating websites as a mechanism to contact victims. X.X. never had the opportunity to profess his innocence at trial, as Sean Fagan was successful at securing a judicial stay of proceedings on all charges, prior to the commencement of the trial.
In every criminal prosecution, the Crown prosecutor has a constitutional obligation to provide an accused person (or his/her lawyer), with full disclosure. Everything that the Crown or Police have that bears on the relevance of a case, must be disclosed, and it must be disclosed in a timely manner. Disclosing significant material (whether in quality or quantity) on the dawn of trial does not allow defence counsel sufficient time to properly consider it – it must be disclosed to allow a reasonable time to review it.
Some cases can involve voluminous, disorganized, or missing disclosure, which can make them difficult to prosecute, and sometimes impossible. In X.X.’s case, the Edmonton Police Service provided disclosure to the Crown in a disorganized fashion, who in turn, provided it to defence counsel in the same disorganized fashion. As a consequence of the issues with disclosure, this case took so long to get to trial, that Sean Fagan was successful in his application to have the proceedings stayed as a consequence of the violation of X.X’s right to a trial within a reasonable time.
The Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R v Jordan held that the ceiling for cases in Superior Court is 30 months and for Provincial Court it is 18 months. X.X.’s case was unique in that it went from Provincial Court to Superior Court and then back to Provincial Court. Alberta Courts had not dealt with this issue before.
Alberta criminal lawyer Sean Fagan argued that the 18-month ceiling should apply to cases in Provincial Court, and the Court agreed.
See the full decision here