Free thanks to time limits: no new trial for a murderer alleged

News 9 February, 2018
  • Photo Le Journal de Montréal, Martin Alarie
    Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham (to the left)

    Michael Nguyen

    Friday, 9 February 2018 11:56

    Friday, 9 February 2018 11:56

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    The first accused of murder in Quebec, which has been released because of the endless court delays will not have a new trial, comes to a decision on the highest court of the province.

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    “The court rejects the demand [of the Crown]”, one can read in the 25-page document made public Friday.

    This decision, however, is mixed. On the five judges who have studied the matter, one of them showed his dissent.

    The judge [Nicole] Duval Hesler would have allowed the appeal, set aside the stay of proceedings and ordered a new trial.

    Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham, who has since been returned to Sri Lanka, natal, is so released, without consequence for the death of Anuja Baskaran, his wife of 21 years, which occurred in Montreal in August 2012.

    Man of 32 years, who had a history of spousal abuse, had quickly been stopped following the drama. But the time had been extremely long before it is judged. So long, in fact, that the superior Court had decided to stop the procedures in the past year.

    It is only in 2016, the supreme Court has rendered the judgment in Jordan, which limit the time before an accused person on trial, except in some cases. In the case of Thanabalasingham, the waiting time was set at 30 months. This ceiling had been largely exceeded.


    Since then, Thanabalasingham has been sent back to his country, where there is no extradition treaty with Canada. The Crown hoped, however, to cancel the shutdown procedures, in order to hold a new trial in the cases where the killer claimed would give a day to the feet in Canada.

    But the desire of the prosecution is quite theoretical, have recalled the majority of the judges sitting in this case.

    “The order of a “new” trial that wants the Crown just is not likely to be executed, ” wrote judge Allan Hilton. There is no factual basis for believing that such a trial can be conducted a day.”

    For the majority, the request of the Crown is thus “useless”, and there was no reason to hear the case on the merits.

    The judge in dissent, for its part, has asserted that the trial judge had not complied with the teachings of the supreme Court, for the accused awaiting trial before the judgment in Jordan is provided, as is the case for Thanabalasingham. In these cases, the highest court in the country had put in place “transitional measures” which have not been met, according to the judge Duval Hesler.

    During the hearings at the Court of appeal, Thanabalasingham was represented by lawyer Marie-Helene Giroux. The director of criminal and penal prosecutions had dispatched three prosecutors, Christian Jarry, Maude Payette and Nicholas Abran.