For the second time in less than a month, an impaired driving charge has been stayed because of an unreasonable delay in getting the case to trial.
Allan Douglas Sather was charged on April 12th, 2007 and in a decision released last week, Judge Brian Daley stated the delay was unreasonable and violated the Charter of Rights for Mr. Sather. In total the case was delayed almost 20 months. One of the reasons for the delays was the health problems of the police officer involved in the case. The officer, because of his health, could not attend to the 2 previous court dates set in the case.
The Judge stated "Upon examination, the only two factors that to me appear to be significant are the lack of judicial resources, and again the illness of the officer, which I have already deemed to be a neutral factor."
Judge Daley also considered the fact that Sather lost approximately $7,400 in possible wages while he tried to contest the charges. Sather stated he missed out on the opportunity of a promotion with Peregrine Pressure Testing Ltd which would have included a pay increase.
In a similar case in November of 2008, Judge Darrell O’Byrne said "The limits on the institutional resources, especially judicial resources in the Peace [River region] generally, at Fort St. John in particular, are well known." This case was delayed almost 21 months and also resulted in a stay.