A lawyer for a man held in custody for a year since his arrest for a violent Unity home invasion objected to numerous trial delays.
Trials for Drayden Clinton, 25, were scheduled in 2020 for June, September and then December in North Battleford Provincial Court. They were all adjourned.
“Mr. Clinton has been in custody since last January, almost a year,” said lawyer Tom Stepper who represents Clinton. “The trial was adjourned three times. All the adjournments were opposed by defence.”
Stepper told the court on Jan. 15, 2021, that the continued incarceration of Clinton without being able to get “his day in court is very troubling to defence.”
Judge Kevin Hill said the court is “aware of Mr. Clinton’s situation and continued incarceration.” He added that once trials and preliminary hearings are able to resume the court will prioritize matters.
“He (Clinton) is remanded at this point by law,” said Judge Hill.
There have been numerous court delays across the province due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, Saskatchewan’s provincial courts suspended most trials, preliminary inquiries, and in-person hearings until Feb. 16 due to the pandemic. In December 2020 the courts suspended most operations until Jan. 16, 2021. In November 2020 the Court postponed jury trials scheduled to begin before the end of the year. The postponement was then extended until March 31, 2021. Jury trials were first suspended in the spring of 2020, at the start of the pandemic. Jury trials resumed in September 2020 at off-site locations.
Clinton was arrested January 2020 and charged with unlawful confinement, assault with a weapon, uttering death threats, carrying a weapon for a dangerous purpose, wearing a mask in the commission of an offence, possessing ammunition while prohibited, possessing brass knuckles while prohibited, possessing Mace while prohibited, possession of property obtained by crime, break and enter and commit robbery, commit bank card fraud over $5,000 and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
A trial for Clinton’s co-accused, Tenielle Heitt, 31, was scheduled for Feb. 2, 2021. She is charged with unlawful confinement, break and enter, possession of property obtained by crime, uttering threats, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Clinton’s matter will be brought before the North Battleford Provincial Court again on Feb. 10.