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The case of the impatient Canadian judge

Nov. 27, 2012 at 3:09 PM

TORONTO, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A judicial council in Toronto reprimanded a Canadian judge who dismissed 10 criminal cases because a prosecutor was 87 seconds late.

On July 11, 2011, Judge Howard Chisvin ordered 10 cases involving 33 charges thrown out in a court in Newmarket, north of Toronto, because Crown Attorney Brian McCallion was just over a minute slow in returning from a break.

That created a judicial firestorm, as some of the defendants included violent offenders and others faced criminal charges of robbery and fraud, the Toronto Star reported.

The Ontario Judicial Council, composed of two judges, a lawyer and a member of the public, issued a formal reprimand to Chisvin Monday after hearing testimony from his lawyer, supporters and complainants, Postmedia News reported.

Chisvin's lawyer noted how the judge was under "personal stresses," immediately reported the incident to superiors and apologized repeatedly. Chisvin also booked off for two weeks of stress leave and undertook two months of personal counseling, the Star said.

It was the first blemish on Chisvin's eight-year record as a provincial judge, the reports said.

For some of the dismissed cases, the Ontario Court of Appeal intervened and assigned minimum sentences, while other cases were sent back to the beginning for police and prosecutors, Postmedia said.

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