Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section F. Trial without undue delay
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides that in an occupied territory, accused persons “must be brought to trial as rapidly as possible”.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001), in its chapter on rights and duties of occupying powers, states that accused persons “must be brought to trial as rapidly as possible”.
In the Ribic case
before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2004, the accused, a Canadian national, was charged with four counts of hostage-taking contrary to section 279.1 of Canada’s Criminal Code.
In its judgment, the Court stated regarding the right of an accused to be tried within a reasonable period of time:
 The Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that:
11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time.
 The purpose of the provision in hand with section 7 is to protect the accused person’s right of liberty, security of the person and the ability to make full answer and defence from violation by an unreasonable delay in bringing his criminal trial to a conclusion. The interest of society as a whole in seeing that criminal cases are tried and in bringing the accused to trial without unreasonable delays has been recognized by the Court as well: R. v. Morin, 1992 CanLII 89 (S.C.C.),  1 S.C.R. 771 (S.C.C.), at p. 786. Fair trial interests find expression in section 7 of the Charter as well and there may be some overlap between considerations relevant to both sections 7 and 11(b). As Carthy J.A. said in Regina v. Williamson 2000 CanLII 3082 (ON C.A.), (2000), 144 C.C.C. (3d) 540 (Ont. C.A.) at para :
The fair trial interests of the accused is an object of both s. 7 and s. 11(b). Once trial delay is sufficient to require scrutiny fair trial concerns could not be adequately assessed if prejudice of any type related to the passage of time is excluded from consideration. All relevant factors must be brought together and form the basis of the ultimate decision as to breach and remedy. A fact relevant to s. 7 concerns may also be a fact for consideration under s. 11(b).
 Four principal factors have been identified for examination and analysis in determining whether in any particular case, the time it takes to get the case to trial is unreasonable and in violation of the Charter. They are:
1. Length of the delay,
2. Waiver of the delay,
3. Reasons for the delay, which include
(a) inherent time requirements of the case,
(b) actions of the accused,
(c) actions of the Crown,
(d) limits on institutional resources, and
(e) other reasons for delay, and
4. Prejudice to the accused.
In 2008, Canada’s Court of Appeal of Ontario dismissed an appeal to overturn the convictions on two grounds of hostage-taking. Justice Cronk, who gave the leading judgment, summarized the appellant’s arguments as follows:
Ribic inter alia
… contends that the trial judge erred by refusing to stay the prosecution on the grounds that Ribic’s rights under ss. 7 and 11(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
[(Charter)] … to trial within a reasonable time had been infringed.
The Court held:
 In his first s. 11(b) ruling, when attempting to balance society’s fundamental and important interest in bringing the accused to trial and those factors that led to significant delay and adverse impact on the appellant, the trial judge correctly noted that the crimes charged in this case are very serious offences, which are punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He also expressly averted to Sopinka J.’s critical observation in Morin R. v. Morin,  1 S.C.R. 771], at p. 787 that: “As the seriousness of the offence increases so does the societal demand that the accused be brought to trial.”
 Ultimately, after weighing the competing interests in detail and referring to the applicable legal principles that guide the balancing inquiry, the trial judge concluded that the seriousness of the offences in this case and “the national and international interests in bringing this case to trial” substantially outweighed the injury to the appellant’s interests in an earlier trial.
 The trial judge came to a similar conclusion when he undertook a fresh s. 11(b) analysis at the conclusion of the evidential phase of the appellant’s second trial:
The passage of another year … brings the balance more towards a position favourable to the accused, but I do not see, now that I have heard all the evidence that the societal interests are lessened in any significant way. Indeed, it seems to me, at least in terms of Canada’s small role in endeavouring to assert the rule of law into the protection of UN personnel in such a civil conflagration, that the national and international societal interests in having this case prosecuted are every bit as weighty as they were a year ago, possibly even more so.
 I agree. The crimes charged against the appellant are grave indeed. As the trial judge observed in his original s. 11(b) ruling, they “[strike] at the core of the safety and security of [UN] personnel in every outbreak of hostilities into which they are sent”. Further, as the trial judge also stated, “Canada’s armed forces … who participate in [UN] peace-making and peace-keeping efforts around the globe … and the armed services of all of the member states of the [UN] have a very real interest in [the] trial of this case.”
 The delay in this case, although considerable, was not unreasonable. As this court recently stated in R. v. Godin
,  237 O.A.C. 324, at para. 46, appeal as of right to the S.C.C.,  S.C.C.A. No. 354, there will be circumstances where trial delay, even significant trial delay, will be caused by “a constellation of explicable factors”. This is such a case.