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Alleged Kelowna drug producer has charges stayed due to delays

The Kelowna man had all 21 charges against him stayed by the judge
Penticton's Courts. File photo

A Kelowna man in Penticton Court for sentencing on 21 charges walked out on June 7 with a clean slate after all charges were stayed due to lengthy delays in the judicial process. 

In Canada, all people charged with an offence have the right to be tried within a reasonable time, barring extenuating circumstances or delays caused by the defendant.

Steven Lorne Whyte was charged back in November of 2018 with four counts of possession of a controlled substance, six counts of producing a controlled substance and 11 counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. 

All of the charges received a judicial stay of proceedings on June 7, after the judge agreed that the delays were substantial and excessive. 

With the agreement from defence and Crown, the 44 pages of reasons for the judge's decision were not read into the record.  

The judge noted that while some of the delays were due to the handling of the case by Whyte's initial counsel, there were still 22 months of delays, which pushed the case just over the limit.

The Supreme Court of Canada's Jordan decision set down that a trial that goes beyond 18 months from when charges are sworn in in provincial court violates the right to have a trial in a reasonable amount of time. 

A second man charged in the case, Nathan Lee Falkener, pleaded guilty in 2020 to one count of production of a controlled substance, one count of possession of a controlled substance and to one count of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and received an 18-month conditional sentence. 


Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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