Prejudice to the Accused

The fourth and final factor the court will examine after considering the length of delay, waivers by the defendant, and reasons for the delay is whether any prejudice is caused to the accused as a result. It is important to note that you must first demonstrate that unreasonable delay has occurred, which can be done by meeting the first three criteria, prior to arguing that prejudice has been caused. In R. v. Mastroianni it was stated that “The implied and real prejudice in any of these applications must be scrutinized by the Court, and I am prepared to accept that there is always an implied prejudice in being charged with offences which require your appearance before the courts”. Besides this inherent prejudice, a person charged with an offence is additionally troubled by the uncertainty of the process, the possibility of demerit points accumulating, obtaining a record, and the possibility of insurance rates increasing. All of these factors can weigh heavily on a person, which is both understood and accepted by the court. As such, Morin stated that “the greater the prejudice the shorter the acceptable period of institutional delay”. This statement demonstrates the high expectation that the court holds that a defendant be brought to trial within a reasonable time.

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