39-month delay nets stay of proceedings in Alberni man’s theft and fraud case

Judge blames both Crown and defense for long delays

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has granted a stay of proceedings in a theft and fraud case that he says would have taken more than three years to conclude after charges were laid.

Justice Robert Johnston says the defence is responsible for six months of the delay, but he also blamed the Crown for what he called an unreasonably long wait for a trial date.

The case involves investment adviser Charles Dass, who was accused of defrauding three sets of complainants, including a family that invested $300,000 with him, between January 2000 and December 2007.

The first complaint against Dass was made to the RCMP in Port Alberni in March 2007 but he was not charged until June 2013.

A written ruling released Monday says Dass’s trial was set to conclude in early September 2016, almost 39 months after a myriad of delays.

Johnston suggested a “culture of complacency” was involved in derailing the preliminary trial by nine months though he says it should have been a straightforward process.

The Canadian Press