M.A. was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit. The breath test revealed that M.A. had a blood alcohol level of 2.5 times the legal limit. The earliest date that the Court could hear M.A.’s trial was just shy of a year after she was charged. As M.A. was subject to an Alberta Administrative Driver’s License Suspension while awaiting trial this was an excessive delay and was interfering with M.A.’s ability to make a living. Ms. Fagan promptly brought the matter into Court several months before the proposed trial date and argued that her client’s right to a trial within a reasonable time had been violated. This was a novel argument on a point that had not yet been dealt with in reported case law.
BOTTOM LINE: Ms. Fagan was successful in having her client’s charges stayed (i.e. withdrawn) and her driver’s license re-instated months before she would have been able to proceed to trial. Believing that the Trial Judge had made a mistake, the Crown initially sought to appeal the decision to a higher court, but that appeal was ultimately abandoned.