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Respond time for Cape Breton accused may increase

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Lady Justice is shown in this file photo. - SaltWire File Photo

Cape Breton accused released on conditions may now have gained an additional two minutes to present themselves on their doorsteps during regular night checks by police and probation officials.

A standard clause for those released on a recognizance and those on probation notes the individual has three minutes in which to present themselves on the threshold of their homes during routine home checks.

A failure to respond could result in the individual being charged with breaching a court order.

In Cape Breton, the standard time allotted for presentation is three minutes.

During a provincial court proceeding Tuesday in Sydney, Judge William Digby questioned whether three minutes was a sufficient amount of time in which to respond.

“What if the person was on the toilet?” Digby asked per diem Crown Jess MacDonald.

MacDonald explained that the three-minute time frame was part of the norm for such orders issued in Cape Breton and asked the judge how long he thought it would take an individual to complete their bathroom duties.

“I guess that would depend on what they were doing,” said the judge, adding that three-minutes seems to be on the short side.

MacDonald said she had no problem increasing the time and the new order now gives the individual five minutes in which to respond to a knock at the door.

Cape Breton’s Chief Crown Attorney Kathyrn Pentz told the Post while there is no set time in place across the country, the three minutes used in Cape Breton has been upheld in other jurisdictions.

Across Nova Scotia, the time frame runs from three to five minutes while in other provinces, the time may be listed as “within a reasonable time.”

A recent decision out of the British Columbia Court of Appeal also make it clear that it is the responsibility of the accused or those on probation to ensure they comply with the demand.

Even if they live in a secure building, it is up to the accused to provide police and other officials with contact numbers or other measures which allows them to check on the curfew, residency and other provisions of such orders.

As to whether the time frame in Cape Breton will be moved to five minutes remains uncertain but it’s likely accused and defence lawyers will make such a pitch to the court.


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