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Wildrose wants independent investigation into Airdrie sex assault case
EDMONTON, AB (November 5, 2012): The Wildrose Official Opposition today demanded Premier Alison Redford call an independent investigation into how a sexual assault case involving a young Airdrie girl was abruptly thrown out of court last month with the accused going free.
The victim’s family says they were told a lack of Crown prosecutors and resources was to blame for the judge’s decision, however, a Justice Department official who had announced the upcoming investigation quickly denied that was the reason.
Both Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith and Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson repeated the Wildrose call for an independent investigation and pressed Redford on why the case was dropped.
Smith also reminded Redford of a 2009 case (while Redford was Justice Minister) in which a judge threw out a similar case because it took too long to get to trial. In his ruling, the judge said “the delay is almost entirely attributable to the Crown” and “is in large part unexplained and unjustified.”
“The administration of justice is one of the core duties any government needs to get right and this government has failed,” Smith said. “Protecting vulnerable victims of crime and punishing those responsible should absolutely be job one and Albertans deserve to know why their justice system keeps failing them in this regard.”
Anderson said the government is attempting to whitewash the incident by having its officials prejudge why the case was thrown out before examining it further.
“Will the Premier immediately call in a qualified outside investigator from another province, who is entirely independent, who doesn’t owe his job to this government, and who will openly and objectively figure out what went wrong, if the case was dropped because of staffing shortages, and what changes must occur in the crown prosecutor’s office to ensure what happened to this Airdrie girl and in other cases like it – never happens again?” Anderson asked.
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Danielle Smith was elected on April 23, 2012 as the MLA for Highwood, and acts as Leader of the Official Opposition and Wildrose International, Intergovernmental Relations Aboriginal Relations; Cities; and Executive Council critics.
Rob Anderson was first elected on March 3, 2008 as the MLA for Airdrie-Chestermere, and acts as the Wildrose Finance critic and House Leader.