Canada: Les victimes de l'effondrement de la scène de Radiohead n'obtiennent pas justice à cause d'une violation de la Constitution | L'Espace RH

Last Updated: November 14 2017
Article by Fasken Martineau

Presque cinq ans après l'effondrement fatal de la scène de concert de Radiohead au parc Downsview à Toronto, en Ontario, un juge de la Cour supérieure a ordonné la suspension de toutes les accusations contre les accusés en vertu de la Loi sur la santé et la sécurité au travail LSST »). Rendue par le juge Nelson le 5 septembre 2017, cette décision constitue un autre exemple récent, au Canada, de suspension d'accusations réglementaires et criminelles en raison de délais déraisonnables et plus précisément, en raison de la violation des droits fondamentaux d'une personne en vertu de la Charte des droits et libertés.

Radiohead, un groupe britannique, devait donner un concert au parc Downsview de Toronto. Quelques heures avant le début du concert, la superstructure de la scène s'est effondrée. Scott Johnson, un technicien en percussions, a été mortellement atteint. D'autres personnes ont été gravement blessées. 

Le 6 juin 2013, le ministère du Travail a déposé des accusations contre certaines personnes en vertu de la LSST, y compris les sociétés Live Nation Canada Inc., Optex Staging & Services Inc. ainsi que l'ingénieur professionnel Domenic Cugliari, qui avait fourni des conseils, des dessins techniques et la certification.

L'affaire était grave et complexe. Le procès a commencé en novembre 2015 devant le juge Nakatsuru. 

Après la publication de la décision Jordan de la Cour suprême du Canada au début du mois de juillet 2016, une demande relative aux délais avait été faite, mais elle avait ultimement été rejetée par le juge de première instance.

Le 12 avril 2017, à quelques semaines des plaidoiries finales, le juge Nakatsuru a été nommé à la Cour supérieure de justice de l'Ontario par le Procureur général du Canada. En conséquence, et selon les instructions du ministère fédéral de la Justice de ne plus effectuer de travail dans quelque affaire que ce soit, le juge Nakatsuru a estimé qu'il ne possédait plus la compétence juridictionnelle nécessaire pour continuer le procès et a déclaré son annulation.

L'interdiction faite au juge Nakatsuru de terminer le procès à la suite de sa nomination à la Cour supérieure de l'Ontario découle d'une politique et d'une pratique singulières du ministère de la Justice et du gouvernement fédéral, qui sont surprenantes et inexplicables. Les motifs du jugement du juge Nelson y réfèrent au paragraphe 70 :

[TRADUCTION] [70] Tant Cugliari que Live Nation allèguent que la nomination du juge Nakatsuru ne devrait pas être traitée comme un évènement distinct, car bien qu'elle n'ait pas été prévue par le procureur de la Couronne dans cette affaire, elle l'était par l'État. En outre, l'État n'a pas pris de mesures raisonnables pour réduire les délais qui en ont découlé.  Plus précisément, les avocats insistent sur ce qui suit :

  • Le gouvernement provincial n'a pas adopté de dispositions législatives qui auraient permis au juge Nakatsuru de terminer le procès;
  • Au moment où il a posé sa candidature pour siéger à la Cour supérieure, le juge Nakatsuru savait qu'il assurait la présidence du présent procès et que sa nomination risquait d'en entraîner l'annulation;
  • Le juge Nakatsuru aurait pu retarder sa nomination jusqu'à l'aboutissement du procès;
  • Le gouvernement fédéral aurait dû s'assurer de ne pas nommer le juge Nakatsuru avant la fin du procès.1

Malgré que le procureur de la Couronne a persuadé le juge Nelson que la nomination judiciaire était un évènement exceptionnel, les délais survenus dans cette affaire ne pouvaient être permis. Le juge Nelson a conclu que même en accordant trente (30) mois pour terminer ce genre de procès plutôt que les dix-huit (18) mois, le délai dépassait tout de même de beaucoup cette période. En effect, l'affaire se trouvait habituels dans le système judiciaire depuis presque cinq (5) ans. 

Le juge Nelson a conséquemment suspendu les accusations en raison de la violation du droit constitutionnel d'être jugé dans un délai raisonnable en vertu de l'alinéa 11 b) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés.

Bien qu'en elles-mêmes, les poursuites en matière de santé et de sécurité apportent peu de satisfaction aux victimes, elles constituent un aspect important de l'application des lois canadiennes en matière de santé et de sécurité. Même en tenant compte des circonstances exceptionnelles de la présente affaire, l'absence de décision sur le fond constitue un échec pour le système judiciaire. 

Footnotes

1 R. v. Live Nation Canada Inc. et al, décision non rapportée rendue le 5 septembre 2017, par. 70.

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