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Justice report a good first step for victims, but more needed: Anderson

AIRDRIE, AB (April 12, 2013): After the Justice system failed an Airdrie sex assault victim, today’s completed review into her case by Alberta Justice is a good first step to protect future victims of serious crimes, but there is more work to be done, Wildrose Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson said today.

The Alberta Justice Review was initiated after Dani Polsom’s sexual assault trial was thrown out in October last year as a result of a shortage in Alberta Crown prosecutors and a failure by Alberta Justice after three full years of court delays. “Dani, her mother Alison and her family are the real heroes today for being brave enough to step forward to fight for changes in a Justice system that failed them,” Anderson said.  “None of this would have ever happened without Dani’s courage and strength, and the perseverance and resilience of her family and supporters. As a result, today’s announcement will go a long way to ensure many others don’t have to experience the same horrors that she had to experience.” Even with the changes announced today, Anderson said there will continue to remain several gaps in an Alberta Justice system that directly failed a most innocent victimof this heinous crime. “This was an issue of a lack of resources and diligence on the part of Alberta Justice. Just giving more education for Crown prosecutors isn’t good enough,” Anderson said.  “We are still short on Crown prosecutors and we are still underutilizing Justices of the Peace.” Anderson also said that further changes are needed to ensure victims see justice including directly compensating victims when their cases are dropped due to system delays, ensuring that Alberta Justice publishes a list of all dropped cases annually and guaranteeing that all cases of crimes against children be expedited. On Monday, Anderson will also be joined by Dani Polsom, her mom, Alison Jones, and their family and friends at the Alberta Legislature to urge the government to pass new legislation that includes these measures, among others, to ensure the protection of future victims. Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw said that it’s important that the Alberta Justice system does not waste police and court time enforcing laws, such as the recent .05 law passed under Bill 26, that are not a priority to public safety. “This is about protecting victims of serious crimes and it is unimaginable why we wouldn’t be taking the proper steps to prioritize our resources appropriately,” Saskiw said. NOTE: The courts have accepted the victim’s request and lifted the publication ban in this case.