In January, a Newfoundland Supreme Court judge first decided to toss the case, finding the charter rights of William Leger Clarke and accountant Terry Reardon were breached with the lengthy pre-trial delays.
Judge Jane Fitzpatrick highlighted the 8 1/2-year police investigation involved, with a three-year wait to get to trial.
On Tuesday morning, head of public prosecutions Frances Knickle confirmed the appeal has been abandoned.
“Having reviewed the file and in light of the Jordan case, the appeal no longer has merit,” Knickle told The Telegram.
The Jordan case is R. v. Jordan — a Supreme Court of Canada decision from July, wherein a test was established in dealing with pre-trial delays. For criminal cases, the allowable delay would be 30 months. After that point, the charges would have to be dropped if the delay cannot be shown by the Crown to be outside of its control.
Clarke and Reardon had each been charged with 38 counts of fraud and a single count of conspiracy to commit fraud, which related to the alleged mishandling of mortgage transactions between September 2000 and May 2004.
Their trial was set to begin in January of this year.
But after the charter application was argued, Fitzpatrick found several examples of how police dragged their heels — both before and after charges were laid.
The investigation began in June 2004. Yet, charges weren’t laid until December 2012.
As for the post-charge delays, the judge noted that disclosure in the case was not only voluminous, consisting of about 48,000 pages, it wasn’t organized in a reasonable fashion. File formatting was confusing and information was missing.
It prevented lawyers from entering a plea and moving the case forward.
For several years after the charges were laid, further disclosure continued to be added.
In January, the company's lawyer, William Parsons, who admitted to handling the transactions for the company’s properties, pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 and was sentenced to a three-year jail term for his part.
Clarke’s brother, Randell Clarke, was co-owner and was initially a co-accused, but the Crown withdrew charges against him in 2014.