News Items Index Home 2007/08/16 Article
"Habeas Corpus application brought in Windsor"

By Kenneth W. Golish

A Superior Court judge heard an application for habeas corpus in a Windsor court today.  Such an application, the Latin expression referring to the requirement of the production of the body of a confined individual, has not been brought in Windsor in recent memory. The case involved a detained individual in custody for 149 days.  This defence counsel argued that since jail officials had not brought an application for a mandatory 90-day detention review within a reasonable time, his detention had become illegal and required his immediate unconditional release.

Justice Terrence Patterson refused the application on the basis of his finding that jail officials had made "an honest mistake."  Instead, he ordered a detention review to be held at the first date offered by the court, some 22 days later.  Additionally, the judge commented that it was good the Windsor Jail was taking measures to ensure that the 90-days reviews would be scheduled in accordance with the applicable law.

Defence counsel argued that caselaw established that a detention becomes illegal for failure to bring a timely 90-day review when the circumstances establish the detention to be onerous.   In this case, it was onerous because the prisoner was not likely to be in jail if sentenced for as long as he had been.  Further, no authority existed for the proposition that the absence of bad faith changed anything.