Accused pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon. PSR and Gladue reports ordered. Issue regarding when a judge becomes seized with a sentencing.

Held: Judge seized only when contentious evidence heard.

Issue regarding proper interpretation of s. 669.1 CC. Cataract, 1994 CanLii 4616 (SKCA) and Magbanua, 2013 ABPC 248 not followed. A purposive interpretation of s. 669.1 supports a narrow view of the phrase “commenced to hear evidence”, so as to only include trials or sentence hearings where contested evidence is heard. In many instances when judges are seized, significant rescheduling and/or travel becomes necessary. “I prefer an interpretation that allows for the most efficient use of public funds, and that recognizes the interest of offenders and society in the criminal justice system moving as promptly as possible”. One judge may hear the guilty plea and the facts, and order sentence reports, and then a second judge may proceed with the sentencing on a later date.

A. Crawford – Defence Counsel