A trial for a Macklin man charged in connection to a violent home invasion in Unity was adjourned for the third time.
The trial for Drayden Clinton, 25, was scheduled to start on Sept. 14 but was adjourned until Dec. 16. It was previously scheduled for June 22, 23, and 24 but was adjourned to July. In July it was adjourned to September.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created delays and a backlog in Saskatchewan’s court system. The Supreme Court's 2016 Jordan ruling states that court cases must be heard within a certain time frame to guarantee an accused’s right to a speedy trial. Court cases must be heard within 18 months in provincial court and 30 months in superior court. In July, Federal Justice Minister David Lametti said the government is prepared to introduce legislation to keep charges from being dismissed due to court delays caused by pandemic-related disruptions.
The Jordan ruling recognizes that trials don't always follow timetables and "unforeseeable or unavoidable developments can cause cases to quickly go awry, leading to delay." The Jordan ruling takes into account potential delays caused by exceptional events and illnesses but there is no federal law in Canada stating how those exceptions should be applied. Lametti, however, said if the pandemic causes confusion over how the Jordan ruling should be interpreted, the government would introduce legislation to clarify how the Jordan ruling should be applied.
Clinton was arrested in January 2020 after police raided his home. He is charged in connection to a Unity home invasion and a break-in at a home in Macklin. He is 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.
Clinton's co-accused Tenielle Heitt, 31, of Unity, 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.
Heitt’s trial is scheduled for Dec. 14 in North Battleford Provincial Court.