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Trials & Litigation

Appeals Court Rebukes Judge for Dismissing a Dozen Cases Because Prosecutor Was Late

Posted Mar 20, 2012 3:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Canadian appellate court has rebuked a Toronto judge for dismissing the cases of a dozen people facing either conviction or sentencing because a prosecutor was a few minutes late returning after a break, reports the Star.

“It is clear that the trial judge had no power to make the order that he purported to make,” says the three-judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal in its decision yesterday. “It was illegal and abuse of judicial authority. Furthermore, even if the power existed, there was no basis upon which to make the order of the facts of the case.”

The court quashed the dismissal order last summer by Judge Howard Chisvin, who did not appear to argue in the appeal on his own behalf, and substituted convictions in cases involving guilty pleas and convictions of guilt.

Among those who initially beat the rap due to the dismissal order was a disbarred attorney in a fraud case. However, he has agreed on his own to return for the adjudication of the case, the article says.

A transcript shows that Chisvin issued the dismissal order 1 minute and 27 seconds after court resumed. Brian McCallion, the attorney for the crown, didn't actually show up for nearly 6 more minutes after that.

Additional coverage:

Globe and Mail:"Ontario judge blasted for freeing defendants over tardy prosecutor "

National Post (opinion): "Matt Gurney: Ontario’s ‘Judge Tantrum’ should resign or be fired".

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