RCMP re-investigating alleged sexual assault allegation against Colin Basran

Basran judge frustrated

Provincial court judge Monica McParland showed her frustration with the continual delays that have plagued the sexual assault case of former Kelowna mayor Colin Basran.

Lawyers for both sides made a sixth appearance via video conference before Judge McParland Tuesday morning for what was anticipated to be an arraignment hearing.

However Trevor Martin, appearing for special prosecutor Brock Martland, told the judge they were not yet ready to proceed.

"There has been some information sharing back and forth between the defence and, as a result of some of those discussions, the police have actually gone out and conducted some further investigative steps," Martin told the judge.

"Those steps have generated some additional disclosure which has just recently been provided to the defence, and Crown expects and accepts defence will need time to review those materials before being in a position to arraign."

Martin told McParland the Crown is expecting to receive further material from the RCMP as early as this week that will need to be vetted and turned over to the defence.

"With disclosure essentially not yet complete, Crown doesn't expect the defence to be in a position to arraign at this stage."

Arraignment is when a charged person enters a plea.

Martin suggested a further three week delay in proceedings.

"We have an obligation to keep things moving," responded McParland.

"My concern is that when I listen back to Feb. 21 that there was a recent disclosure request from defence and it was anticipated that disclosure would be sent to defence counsel by March 21, and the matter was adjourned."

After reviewing the history of each delay, McParland asked if the latest delay developed since the last time the parties were in court May 16.

Martin was unable to provide an exact timeline but did indicate the latest disclosure resulting from further RCMP investigations is recent, adding further material will be forthcoming from police.

"My understanding is the discussions between Crown and defence alluded to (May 16)...those were the discussions that led to those further investigative steps," he said.

Defence lawyer Lydia Chu said she was advised that in early February defence made a "substantive request" for additional disclosure.

"We received most if not all by early May. However, more substantive resolution discussions formally began I would say in April," said Chu.

"As a result, further investigative steps occurred."

She said those materials were received in mid-May.

Chu said it would not be prudent to proceed to arraignment until the additional disclosure information is reviewed.

"What I don't have is a clear sense of how long that will take," said McParland.

"You are seven months in folks. Seven months is an extraordinary amount of time.

"I want more detail with respect to how much more material there is and I want a firm answer from both Crown and defence."

She again referenced the two sides anticipated being ready for arraignment following appearances on May 2 and 16 and had again anticipated that could take place today.

She told the two sides to be back in court June 23 for arraignment and, if they are not ready by then, "to expect me to be asking very pointed questions."

"If you are not ready to arraign I expect a detailed submission from each counsel as to when they expect to be ready to arraign."

McParland also referenced the Supreme Court's 2016 Jordan ruling setting 18 months as the ceiling for any criminal proceeding from the date charges are sworn to the end of trial.

"As you well know, the longer you wait to arraign, the further in the future the trial is. We all have an obligation not to be complacent as Jordan directs us all.

"That is my expectation."

Basran faces one charge of sexual assault stemming from an alleged incident May 11 of last year.

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