The power at common law to impose a stay on a criminal matter is discretionary, and a stay ‘should only be employed in exceptional circumstances’.
The task for the courts is to decide: ‘whether, in all the circumstances, the situation created by the delay is such as to make it an unfair employment of the powers of the court any longer to hold the defendant to account.’ . . And ‘Naturally the longer the delay the more likely it will be that the prosecution is at fault, and that the delay has caused prejudice to the defendant; and the less that the prosecution has to offer by explanation, the more easily can fault be inferred. But the establishment of these facts is only one step on the way to a consideration of whether, in all the circumstances , the situation created by the delay is such as to make it an unfair employment of the powers of the Court any longer to hold the defendant to account. This is a question to be decided in the round, and nothing is to be gained by the introduction of shifting burdens of proof, which serves only to break down into formal steps what is in reality a single appreciation of what is or is not unfair.’
 2 AC 205,  2 All ER 493,  3 WLR 249, (1993) 96 Cr App R 172
Applied – Attorney General’s Reference (No 1 of 1990) CACD 3-Jun-1992
The jurisdiction to stay criminal proceedings on the ground of delay is exceptional, even where the delay was unjustifiable, and a stay should rarely be imposed in the absence of any fault on the part of the complainant or prosecution, and should . .
Cited – Gibbs and others v Rea PC 29-Jan-1998
(Cayman Islands) The respondent worked for a bank. He disclosed a business interest, but that interest grew in importance to the point where he resigned in circumstances amounting to constructive dismissal. His home and business officers were raided . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.184708