Typically in Estevan Provincial Court, trial dates are frequently pushed back for a variety of reasons, with scheduling being a primary one.
Rarely is there the opportunity to go from arrest to trial in under a month, but that opportunity presented itself on Monday to Justin W. Garrow. Well, almost presented itself.
Garrow had been charged with evading police and dangerous driving on May 2, and was in custody. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges he was facing. The court had May 28 opened as date which had opened up, and Garrow’s attorney, Joelle Graham, asked that his trial be set for that date.
However, the key witness, an Estevan Police Service officer, was unavailable on that date.
So the court clerk started reading off dates, as per usual. June 13. July 9, August 1. August 13. August 22. September 5. September 10. September 12. With each date announced, Garrow’s face gained a look of increasing incredulity. For each date, the officer, the key witness was either in training, on holidays, or otherwise unavailable. Finally they came back to Sept. 5, and settled on that date, over three months past the first open date, and four months after the alleged offences took place.
Crown prosecutor Mitch Crumley noted that he had recently done a stint covering Regina’s court, and there it was common for a four-month delay.
As the Crown prosecutor was opposed to his release, and a bail hearing, referred to as a show cause hearing, had not yet taken place, Garrow faced the prospect of four months in remand pending trial.
Graham pointed out to Judge Michelle Brass, “To confirm, every single date mentioned previously, I am available.”
Garrow is facing additional charges of obstruction and mischief, also from May 2. Again, Graham asked for May 28. The witness couldn’t make it. Then the court clerk read out the dates. May 28. June 13. June 25. Again, those early dates did not work out for the Crown witnesses. In this case, July 9 was settled upon for a trial on those two charges.
Garrow will face a show cause hearing for each set of charges on Thursday. If he is not successful, he will remain remanded in custody until Sept. 5.