section 525(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section sets out time limits for the detention of accused persons who have been charged with an offense other than those listed in section 469.

SECTION WORDING

525(1) Where an accused who has been charged with an offence other than an offence listed in section 469 and who is not required to be detained in custody in respect of any other matter is being detained in custody pending his trial for that offence and the trial has not commenced (a) in the case of an indictable offence, within ninety days from (i) the day on which the accused was taken before a justice under section 503, or (ii) where an order that the accused be detained in custody has been made under section 521 or 524, or a decision has been made with respect to a review under section 520, the later of the day on which the accused was taken into custody under that order and the day of the decision, or (b) in the case of an offence for which the accused is being prosecuted in proceedings by way of summary conviction, within thirty days from (i) the day on which the accused was taken before a justice under subsection 503(1), or (ii) where an order that the accused be detained in custody has been made under section 521 or 524, or a decision has been made with respect to a review under section 520, the later of the day on which the accused was taken into custody under that order and the day of the decision, the person having the custody of the accused shall, forthwith on the expiration of those ninety or thirty days, as the case may be, apply to a judge having jurisdiction in the place in which the accused is in custody to fix a date for a hearing to determine whether or not the accused should be released from custody.

EXPLANATION

Section 525(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada establishes the time limit for detention in custody of an accused person who has been charged with a non-Section 469 offence and is not required to be detained in custody for any other reason. It states that the accused person must be brought to trial within a certain period of time, depending on whether it is an indictable offence or an offence prosecuted by way of summary conviction. If the accused person remains in custody after the specified time period, the person or entity responsible for their custody must apply to a judge to fix a hearing to determine whether or not they should be released from custody. The purpose of this section is to ensure that an accused person is not kept in custody for an unreasonable amount of time without the ability to apply for release. It provides a safeguard against unjustified pre-trial detention and helps to ensure that the accused person's constitutional rights to liberty and security of the person are not violated. In summary, Section 525(1) sets out the time frame within which an accused person who is not required to be detained in custody for any other reason must be brought to trial, and requires a hearing to be held if this time frame is exceeded.

COMMENTARY

The purpose of Section 525(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) is to ensure that an accused individual who is being detained in custody pending their trial for a non-custody order offence is not unjustly detained for prolonged periods of time. This provision places a statutory duty on the person having custody of the accused to make an application to a judge for a hearing to determine whether or not the accused should be released from custody if their trial has not commenced within the specified time. Section 525(1) applies to both indictable offences and summary conviction offences for which an accused is being prosecuted. In the case of indictable offences, the trial must commence within ninety days from the day on which the accused was taken before a justice under section 503. However, if an order for detention has been made or a decision has been made with respect to a review under section 520, then the ninety days will run from the later of the day on which the accused was taken into custody under that order and the day of the decision. For offences prosecuted by way of summary conviction, the trial must commence within thirty days from the day on which the accused was taken before a justice under subsection 503(1). Again, if an order for detention has been made or a decision has been made with respect to a review under section 520, then the thirty days will run from the later of the day on which the accused was taken into custody under that order and the day of the decision. If the trial has not commenced within the specified time, the person having custody of the accused must apply to a judge with jurisdiction in the place where the accused is being held to fix a date for a hearing to determine whether or not the accused should be released from custody pending their trial. The judge who will hear the application must consider all the circumstances relevant to the case, including the nature of the offence, the strength of the evidence against the accused, and the likelihood that the accused will appear for their trial. Section 525(1) is an essential safeguard of an accused's right to liberty under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The provision removes any possibility of pre-trial detention lasting indefinitely and ensures that any detention is justifiable and necessary. It also serves as an incentive to the prosecution to ensure that charges are laid quickly and trials are scheduled promptly. However, while Section 525(1) is a well-intentioned provision, it is limited in its effectiveness. For example, it does not apply to accused individuals who are being detained in custody in respect of another matter. Additionally, the provision is not absolute, and courts have created exceptions to the ninety- and thirty-day time limits where there are good reasons for delay, such as the complexity of the case. These limitations have resulted in criticisms that Section 525(1) is often not effective in protecting the liberty interests of the accused. In conclusion, Section 525(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential statutory safeguard against unjustified pre-trial detention. However, the provision's limitations and exceptions need to be reviewed to ensure it is effective in balancing the interests of the accused and the state. The ongoing debate on justice reform and the importance of pre-trial detention for public safety should consider the effectiveness of this provision.

STRATEGY

Section 525(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada places an obligation on the authorities to ensure that an accused person is not detained in custody for an unreasonable period of time. It is a critical safeguard that guarantees the right of an accused to a trial within a reasonable time. The provision is intended to prevent authorities from unduly delaying an accused's trial, as well as to reduce the number of accused persons who are unfairly detained in custody during the trial period. Lawyers must be intimately familiar with this section of the Code and develop strategies for applying it in their clients' cases. When dealing with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada, there are a few strategic considerations that lawyers should take into account. Firstly, it is important to establish whether or not the accused has been charged with an indictable offence or an offence by way of summary conviction. The timeline requirements for each offence type under the section are different. Therefore, lawyers must ensure that all relevant timeframes for the accused's charge type are followed. Secondly, counsel must be aware of the latest developments in the jurisprudence of section 525(1) and the direction of the law in terms of reasonable delays. This knowledge will help lawyers to assess the strength of their client's case and determine whether a pre-trial hearing seeking release from custody on the grounds of unreasonable delay is appropriate. Lawyers must also be diligent in tracking the progress of their client's case and be prepared to initiate a section 525(1) application promptly, should the delay exceed the required timelines. Thirdly, lawyers should consider the factors that trigger tolling the limit of the time periods. These include instances of adjournments (during the requisite period) with consent, joint applications for more time, and delays caused by the court itself (because of its schedules or lack of resources). These will impact any calculation of the delay time. Fourthly, lawyers should be prepared to file submissions that address the factors enumerated by the Supreme Court of Canada in determining whether an accused was detained in custody unreasonably. These factors include the length of the delay, the presence or absence of the accused, the presence or absence of responsible authorities and the reasons for the delay. In addition to arguing that the delay was unreasonable, counsel must also demonstrate the prejudice that the accused has suffered as a result of detention, or any other prejudice that may have affected the fairness of the trial. Lastly, counsel can also consider using the media (while being mindful of ethical obligations) to bring attention to their client's case and how their client has been denied an expeditious trial. This option should be used judiciously, as the appropriateness of going public will depend on the specific case and the client's instructions. In conclusion, section 525(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a useful tool for protecting the rights of accused persons to an expeditious trial. Lawyers should strategically use the section to ensure that their clients are not detained in custody for an unreasonable length of time. Counsel should be familiar with the relevant jurisprudence and be prepared to argue before the court forcefully. Diligence and keen attention to detail are critical components of an effective section 525(1) application.