Unreasonable delays for a ‘relatively straightforward case,’ judge in Corner Brook writes
Posted: May 25, 2017 12:10 PM NTLast Updated: May 25, 2017 12:10 PM NT
By Stephanie Tobin
The Crown is planning to appeal a stay of proceedings in sexual assault charges against a former priest who was accused from his time in western Newfoundland.
Gary Gerard Hoskins was charged Nov. 8, 2012, with assaults between Jan. 1, 1984, and Dec. 31, 1986.
Hoskins, who worked in Stephenville when the assaults are alleged to have happened, applied for a stay of proceedings, stating his right to a trial within a reasonable time had been breached.
‘The delay in excess of 40 months is simply too long for a relatively straight-forward case as this one.’ – Justice David Hurley, in his decision
He applied for the proceedings to be stayed under the new rules out of R. v. Jordan. Corner Brook Supreme Court Justice David Hurley granted the stay.
Hoskins, who now lives in Ontario, has had previous convictions of sexual assault from the late 1980s.
Unreasonable delays, lack of disclosure
The case was first called in provincial court in January 2013.
There were a number of delays, including a sudden death in Hoskins’s family, but a one-day preliminary inquiry was eventually set for Sept. 16, 2014, after which Hoskins was committed to stand trial.
While a number of earlier delays were ruled reasonable by Hurley, a lack of communication and disclosure by the Crown preceding a number of scheduled appearances in 2015 and 2016 were not reasonable.
Hurley said in his written decision there were further delays up to the anticipated conclusion of the trial, but none of them could be attributed to the defence.
Also, the Crown was late disclosing its intention to call evidence.
The Crown argued that the significant delay should not be counted because it coincided with an application being made by the defence, but Hurley did not accept that argument, since the Crown had an obligation to make full disclosure.
“The delay in excess of 40 months is simply too long for a relatively straightforward case as this one,” Hurley wrote.
The Crown confirmed, in an email to CBC News on Wednesday, its intention to appeal the decision.