February 28, 2017
Charges stayed in Edmonton courts must be wake up call for NDP: Wildrose
Charges stayed in 15 cases today at the Edmonton Law Courts including assault charges show a lack of resources from all levels of government for Crown prosecutors to get cases to trial, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan decision in July 2015 has set an 18 month time for provincial court and 30 months in the Court of Queen’s Bench to get a case to trial adding further strain to an already backlogged system. The 15 charges stayed today were an attempt by the Crown’s office to triage in a broken system, allowing individuals, like those accused of assaulting police officers, to get back on our streets.
“We are setting ourselves up for failure in a justice system where charges are being stayed for crimes that have a real impact on our communities,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “It is infuriating to see the NDP government throw billions at phasing out coal and other pet projects but not find the resources to properly fund our justice system to keep criminals off our streets. Albertans deserve better.”
During adjournment proceedings at the Edmonton courts, Edmonton chief Crown prosecutor Shelley Bykewich said this is “likely not going to be the only time” charges are stayed due to lack of resources.
“When the accused in serious criminal trials are not seeing their day in court because of delays, our system is broken,” Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister Angela Pitt said. “The NDP government needs to be holding the Trudeau Liberals’ feet to the fire to fill justice vacancies properly staff other positions, and streamline processes within our justice system. This is a problem that is only going to grow larger if it isn’t addressed immediately.”
Wildrose will continue to be a champion for effective and accessible courts and safer communities.