Court delays set Surrey man free

Barrett Richard Jordan spent 21 months too long waiting to hear his fate, Appeal Court rules.

A Surrey man convicted and sentenced for his role in a dial-a-dope operation in Langley is being set free because his trial took too long.

Barrett Richard Jordan was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to four years in prison in 2013 in connection with a drug operation.

On Dec. 17, 2008, the police executed a search warrant at an apartment on 68 Avenue in Surrey. Among other things, the police seized 42.3 grams of heroin, 1,463.5 grams of cocaine and crack cocaine, $6,640 in cash and what was alleged to be a “shift calendar” for the dial-a-dope line.

On Dec. 24, 2008, the charges against Jordan were expanded, including the contention that he was the controlling figure behind the operation.

However, Jordan filed an appeal, saying the courts failed to uphold his constitutional guarantee “to be tried within a reasonable time.”

A person charged with an offence is guaranteed the right to be tried within a reasonable time under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Courts have used different tests for what constitutes reasonable.

Any delays must be institutional and not because of sickness or because of the complexity of the trial. Reasonable institutional delays are usually considered to be between 14 and 18 months.

Jordan’s trial was fairly straightforward, the Appeals Court justices noted in a July 8 ruling, saying an unreasonable delay would be if court proceedings, from a criminal charge to the end of a trial, took longer than 18 months in provincial court or 30 months in superior court.

The Appeal Court said it could have been expected the case against Jordan should have taken 28.5 months. In fact, the case took 49.5 months until its conclusion.

The justices ruled the 21-month delay (four months of which were because of defence) were a violation of Jordan’s Section 11 rights under the Constitution and convictions against him were set aside.


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