Charges can be stayed for a variety of reasons, but typically it all boils down to one of two things:

  1. the Crown no longer has a "reasonable likelihood of conviction", or in other words, the Crown no longer thinks it can prove it's case "beyond a reasonable doubt"; and

  2. the prosecution is no longer in the public interest.

There's an ongoing obligation on Crown Prosecutors to review these two factors throughout the course of a prosecution, particularly as new evidence becomes available. If at any time either of the two arises, the Crown is under an obligation to stay the charges.

That's exactly what happened in one of our recent cases.

Following weeks of debate over the nature of the charges, the experience of the worker, the foreseeability of the incident, and the relevant legal principles in play, the Crown rightfully determined that the first requirement of a "reasonable likelihood of prosecution" was not in fact met, and stayed the charges against our client – one week before the trial was scheduled to begin!