Stay of proceedings

A discontinuation of the administrative process pending the outcome of judicial review or a statutory appeal.

An order preventing, either temporarily or permanently, any further action on a prosecution. Crown prosecutors have a power under the Criminal Code to temporarily stay proceedings for a period not exceeding one year (see sections 579 and 579.1(2) of the Code), and judges can permanently stay proceedings as a remedy for a Charter breach.

A suspension of the court proceedings. For up to one year, the Crown may lift the stay and re-institute the proceedings. After one year the matter is stayed permanently.

A suspension of court proceedings without resolution of guilt or innocence. A judge may, for example, stay proceedings if there has been an abuse of process. The Crown sometimes enters a stay if a youth is referred to extrajudicial sanctions. A proceeding stayed by the Crown may be recommenced within one year (Criminal Code, s. 579). Sometimes, a violation of the Charter may result in a judicially ordered stay of proceedings.

A disposition where the court does not allow a prosecution to proceed because of objectionable police or prosecutorial conduct and/or a violation of the accused’s rights. This remedy is not the moral equivalent of an acquittal because it does not reach the merits but has the same practical effects.

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