The Supreme Court of Canada in Myers, 2019 SCC 18, just added new life and purpose to the 90-day detention reviews. The real question will be how the Courts and various Crown Attorney Offices react. This could easily mean many more section 525 reviews to ensure that people are not being warehoused until their trials. No longer will the 90-days reviews be quick, pro forma video appearances.
Here are some of the highlights from the decision:
- Parliament intended that the s.525 review provisions were to safeguard individuals to ensure that they were not simply being warehoused and that detention is still justified and that pre-trial detention still remains to be a measure of last resort.
- Persons detained are entitled to a s.525 hearing even if they have not had an initial bail hearing. The review judge must apply the “ladder principle” and determine the issue of release or detention.
- These section 525 detention reviews are not limited to cases where there may be unreasonable delay issues.
- The reviewing judge must determine if the continued detention of the individual is justified. The s.525 hearing is a review of the continued detention and NOT of whether there were errors in the lower courts decision to detain. The court may receive any evidence that is credible or trustworthy unless it existed at the time of the initial bail hearing and is barred by the “due diligence” and “relevance” criteria.
- The reviewing judge must give directions to expedite the trial of the detained individual and ensure that the accused will not be in a “time served” position before the trial date.