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Jailed Without Hearing (2011)

By Jane Sims The London Free Press

A bail hearing for a London man delayed by out-of-town conferences, other trials and lunch breaks was ordered to move forward “in the ends of justice.”

Superior Court Justice Peter Hockin took the unusual step Wednesday of ordering Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen to resume Marko Maric’s bail hearing after numerous delays that included shortened hearing dates for social engagements and stoppages of evidence to make way for other court work.

“I invite the Justice of the Peace to finish the bail hearing and determine bail,” he said, adding that his reasons didn’t have to be lengthy and should not be delayed any longer.

Maric, 26, is facing nine gun possession-related charges related to an altercation outside a bar in on April 8. He was arrested and placed in custody to await a bail hearing. He’s been waiting behind bars ever since.

On Wednesday, his lawyer Leora Shemesh asked a higher court to consider releasing him under house arrest-like bail conditions with a $100,000 guarantee already presented to Seneshen in the Ontario Court of Justice last month.

If the case went to the next scheduled date, May 11, he would have spent 34 days in custody without a decision.

By coincidence, Seneshen oversaw Maric’s first court appearance and set a one-hour bail hearing for him on April 12. A Croatian interpreter was required for Maric’s mother who was a surety.

Seneshen was presiding justice on April 12. He told both sides he would only hear the case until 1 p.m.. Shemesh argued the hearing should have been moved to a special court to continue.

The continuation was set for April 20 – the first available time for the interpreter. That day, Seneshen said he couldn’t sit past 3:25 p.m., because he had a swearing-in ceremony. He also took a lunch break from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – a break Shemesh called “quite appalling.”

The case had to be pushed ahead to May 11. Seneshen indicated he would hear submissions that date, but wouldn’t make a decision.

Shemesh told Hockin she feared Seneshen’s delays getting the bail hearing on track might indicate a bias against her client.

Shemesh said Maric’s Charter rights had been violated by the delays.

Assistant Crown attorney David Rows argued the court best suited to decide the hearing was the court hearing the evidence.

Hockin said he didn’t know why Seneshen would need more time to craft a decision after May 11. Rows said Sheneshen is away this week, but could be available Monday.

Hockin told Shemesh she could come back to him if the case didn’t move along.

“I’m quite concerned nothing will happen,” she said.