Lengthy delay leads to Ellis charges being dropped

A man who was held in custody for over 30 months was released from prosecution due to the lengthy trial delay.

A man who was held in custody for over 30 months was released from prosecution due to the lengthy trial delay.

“Due to the delay from the time of the incident and the charge being laid, to the time of the trial, the judge felt that his Charter of Rights had been violated and dismissed the whole thing,” explained Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison.

The accused, Michael Ellis, assaulted police officers in two separate incidences, leading local RCMP on a stolen truck chase.

Ellis was acquitted of six charges when B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan noted that government decisions hindered the provincial court’s ability to schedule longer trials. McEwan also pointed out that the length of his custody would be similar to a possible sentencing for his offences had Ellis been found guilty.

Harrison stated the events began in March 2009 in Rock Creek when RCMP gave chase to an individual who had

stolen a F350 pick-up truck. “The RCMP officers gave chase shortly afterwards to try and capture him and he took off,” said Harrison. “They abandoned pursuit and about half-an-hour later, they came across the vehicle again.”

When RCMP came across Ellis again, he was still in the vehicle and facing the opposite direction as the police car and decided to ram the police car with great speed.

“Because our officer felt his life was threatened, he ended up discharging shots through the police car window into the window of the offending truck,” Harrison went on to say.

After his capture, Ellis was charged with aggravated assault and five other charges.

However, the dropped charges did not please RCMP officers.

“This is the second time he has rammed into a police car,” said Harrison.

Harrison mentioned that as a result of lack of judges and court staff, many cases have been dismissed from provincial courts because of the delay in getting the accused to trial.