Court denies defendant adjournment request based on unavailability of key witness

In reasons for judgment published this morning, the court in Hayer v. Qatar Airways, 2016 BCSC 2477 dismissed the defendant's application for an adjournment of upcoming trial dates based on the unavailability of a key defence witness.  In Hayer, the key defence witness lived in Qatar and the defence argued that she would not be available for the upcoming trial in BC.  Further, the defence argued that the trial should be adjourned as the plaintiff's injuries had "not yet fully healed".  In dismissing both of these arguments, Mr. Justice Macintosh wrote as follows:

[5]             There are two grounds raised for the adjournment application; first, that Ms. Kastanos is unavailable for the trial as it is scheduled, and second, that the Plaintiff's injuries are not settled sufficiently for there to be a proper adjudication...

[8]             ...the evidence as filed does not in my view establish that Ms. Kastanos is unavailable for the trial as scheduled, and oral advice from counsel today indicates that indeed she may be available at the time set for the trial, which, as I noted earlier, is to begin January 23, 2017.

...

[10]         ...I am not satisfied that Ms. Kastanos is unavailable for the trial as scheduled, or that she is likely to be more available, if I can put it that way, at some alternative time.

...

[12]         The second basis for seeking the adjournment is...that the Plaintiff's injuries will not be sufficiently settled by the date set for trial...

[13]         One could always wait for ever greater certainty of outcome associated with prognosis, but that desire is to be balanced against our Supreme Court Rules which endorse the concept of obtaining speedy justice.  That is a concept which sometimes we do not honour adequately.

...

[15]         The Defendants speak of needing an opportunity to settle.  I am not certain that is a factor to be taken into account...Furthermore, nothing induces settlement discussions as readily as does a looming trial date.

[16]         The costs of the application are to the Plaintiff in any event of the outcome...

The text of the full decision can be found here:  http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/16/24/2016BCSC2477.htm