Lawyers Financial

Crown stays drug charge against Goldlist's client

Toronto criminal lawyer Jordana Goldlist had all charges stayed against her client who was accused of importing cocaine and marijuana into Canada.

"The Crown made the right decision here not to proceed – it's a positive outcome after a three-year battle for my client," she says. 

The conclusion comes more than three years into a case that was plagued with delays, interpreter issues and other administrative problems, says Goldlist.

It goes back to 2011 when her client and another man were charged with importing drugs from Jamaica after they allegedly ingested cocaine before boarding a flight to Canada.

Their defence was they had become drug mules under duress and that they were forced to swallow the illegal substances after being threatened in a Montego Bay hotel room, the Toronto Sun has reported.

The Crown had initially scheduled a trial for April 2013, but it was adjourned because the Crown failed to provide complete disclosure.

Then a year later, Justice Conlan granted a mistrial application by Goldlist on the grounds that her client was provided a Patois interpreter who failed to meet the required standards for a criminal trial.

The Crown eventually found another interpreter and a new trial – the third one for the matter – was scheduled for three weeks in November 2014, says Goldlist. 

Goldlist then pursued an 11(b) Charter application related to the accused's right to be tried within a reasonable time. That application was adjourned for the Crown to review transcripts that Goldlist argued were completely irrelevant to the application, including those from bail proceedings.

"This case has been going on since May of 2011 – we're at three and a half years, which is well outside the guidelines of what should be a trial within a reasonable amount of time," she says. "It wasn't a very complex case."

A week later when the matter returned to court to schedule a new application date, the Crown stayed all charges against both men.

 While Goldlist says this was a positive outcome for her client, it is also true that the judicial process in this case involved weeks if not months of wasted time and resources.

"It probably cost my client thousands of dollars just in immigration applications to stay in the country to fight this charge, let alone the psychological burden of having this over his head for the last three years," she says. "My client's uncle called me hours after the matter was stayed and wanted me to know that I hadn't just won a case, that I had given a man his life back. That to me speaks volumes."



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