Burnaby Realtor Sees Cannabis Charges Withdrawn

One realtor in Burnaby has seen his cannabis charges withdrawn after experiencing some trial delays in court.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that the realtor, Maurizio Mastronardi, had not been tried within a reasonable amount of time. The charges relate to a cannabis grow-op raid that occurred in Burnaby roughly six years ago. Because the trial didn’t take place in a reasonable amount of time, the judge ruled that Mastronardi’s Charter rights had been violated by the delay. Mastronardi, along with at least four other individuals, was arrested back in 2011 after the RCMP executed a search warrant on a home that he was the registered owner for. All five people were arrested and then charged with theft of electricity and unlawful possession and production of a controlled substance.

Although the case was relatively straightforward, it was because of the shortcomings of court proceedings that he inevitably walked away from the charges. His trial had been pushed back several times and repeatedly rescheduled. Mastronardi claimed that because of the numerous delays and uncertainty of when the trial would be concluded, he says that the lengthy proceedings caused him depression and anxiety.

The judge considered a precedent that was set by a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling, that established that three years was too long for an individual to wait for a trial.