DAWSON CREEK, BC -- In the past four months, there have been several major and highly visible crimes in the City of Dawson Creek. Yet in several cases, no charges have been laid.

On May 3rd, Tim Guy was allegedly stabbed in an 8th Street apartment, CJDC-TV has learned. Police will only say they are treating his death as suspicious. They have not publically named any suspects, even though an eyewitness to the alleged stabbing death has been questioned by investigators.

CJDC-TV has learned the name of the suspect, but without charges laid, it cannot be publically reported.

Then, on July 16th, shots were fired from a vehicle at a residence at the Mile Zero Trailer Park. After a high speed chase through the streets of Dawson Creek, police arrested one suspect who remains in custody on other charges. However, no charges have been laid in connection with the alleged shooting.

Less than a week later, a house on 8th Street burned down. Police are treating the case as arson. CJDC-TV spoke to the homeowner, who told us police have a suspect in that case as well, but again, no charges have been laid.

One of the major reasons for delays in charges involved the 2016 Supreme Court ruling on R. v Jordan. It states that as soon as charges are sworn, trials in provincial court must finish within 18 months. That puts pressure on police and their investigations.

Since all the above incidents are active investigations, police won’t comment on them specifically. However, they did say in general, there are a lot of other factors that could draw out an investigation.

“Until everything is gathered in the specific cases, the police will not present the case to BC Prosecution until a complete package is available to give,” said Cpl. Madonna Saunderson of the North District RCMP.

That package could include witness interviews, video surveillance, forensic examination, or coroner’s reports. If there is a lab report to be completed, that might take several months to obtain.

Other complications may arise if the victims don’t cooperate with the investigation, or police need public information that isn’t forthcoming.

“Because there is not information being released, that doesn’t mean it’s not actively being worked on, and boots on the ground are investigating and following up on all tips and leads,” said Cpl. Saunderson. “It’s just that a lot of times, we don’t want to compromise the investigation.”

However, just this Tuesday in West Kelowna, murder charges were laid four days after a body was found in Okanagan Lake. When asked why the investigations here are taking so much longer, police would only say that every investigation is different.

RCMP assured us these investigations are a priority. But while police continue their work, the other factors outside their control also affect the timing of charges. Court delays and COVID-19 only exacerbate inefficiencies in the justice system, which make it harder to get to trial within the 18 months allowed by the Jordan rule.