In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by the Quebec Crown for a new trial in the case of a Sri Lankan national who was deported after his murder charge was stayed due to excessive court delays.
Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham, a refugee from Sri Lanka and a permanent resident, was charged in 2012 with the second-degree murder of his 21-year-old wife, Anuja Baskaran.
In 2017, Thanabalasingham avoided a trial after he applied for a stay of proceedings on the grounds that his right to be tried within a reasonable time had been infringed. The decision to grant him a stay sent shock waves through Quebec’s legal system.
A Quebec Superior Court judge ruled the nearly 60-month delay between Thanabalasingham’s 2012 arrest and the start of his trial, which was scheduled to begin on April 10, 2017, was excessive according to a benchmark set by the Supreme Court in its ruling on R. v. Jordan in 2016.