Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

February 17, 2011 09:36 ET

Charges Stayed. Accused Walks in Puppy Killing.

Justice Might Just Have Been Denied Because of Delay. Accused Puppy Killer Walks after Judge Issues a Stay.

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor BRITISH COLUMBIA/NEWS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2011) - The facts in the case against accused puppy killer Cody Wellard are no longer a matter for the court to decide because the charges against him were dropped yesterday, in Campbell River, due to a lengthy court delay.

The stay in proceedings points to a larger problem. The province's system of justice is underfunded. There are not enough resources in the system, not enough judges on the bench and - therefore - too many cases in jeopardy of being dismissed without ever being tried.

"Society loses when the legal system's current state leads to a situation in which not enough judges are available to preside over trials, accused persons are not forced to stand trial and the facts of a case are never determined by a court," said Bentley Doyle, a spokesperson for the Trial Lawyers Association of BC.

The puppy was shot and killed on Quadra Island in September 2008. Wellard was charged with willfully killing the animal and unlawful use of a firearm. As Judge Peter Doherty noted, the case wasn't particularly complicated. The trial was only expected to require two days in court. Judge Doherty also noted that there has been a series of delay applications in Campbell River, resulting in charges being dropped.

"Sit. Stand. Be tried. Let justice prevail. That should be the order of things once a charge is laid," explained Doyle. "It should never be that a charge is followed by undue delay, a stay and a walk."

Doyle added: "To be clear, the judge and the lawyers on both sides did not do anything wrong. This is simply the inevitable outcome when a system lacks resources. Being without necessary resources is a big impediment to justice. In this province, we are also witnessing the problems caused by a lack of legal aid funding. Justice is not something that should be shortchanged."

Contact Information

  • Bentley Doyle, Director of Communications, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia
    Primary Phone: 604-682-5343 ext. 302
    Toll-Free: 888-558-5222