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Alberta worst in country for fairness and access to the justice system

A new report from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute shows that Alberta is the worst in the country when it comes to fairness and access to the justice system, and demonstrates that urgent reform is needed, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

The report gives Alberta a C, the lowest grade in the country, when it comes to fairness and access. Recent problems with a lack of judges, lengthy proceedings, and charges being stayed highlight areas for improvement in the system.

“It is deeply disappointing to have confirmation that Alberta’s justice system is not as fair and accessible as it should be for victims of crime,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “We must ensure that access to legal aid is available, proceedings are not drawn out, and dangerous offenders are not getting off simply because of their charges having been stayed.”

According to the report, the percentage of charges stayed or withdrawn in Alberta is 35.3 per cent, and the average criminal case length is greater than the average at 183 days.

“This report highlights systemic problems with our current system. Alberta has higher than average violent crime rates, higher property crime rates, and associated conviction rates poorer than many other jurisdictions,” Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister Scott Cyr said. “The appointment of more judges, and a focus on ensuring our justice system does not get bogged down in gridlock will result in safer communities for Albertans.”