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Ottawa's failure to appoint judges is allowing murder cases to be thrown out: Wildrose

Ottawa’s failure to appoint more judges in Alberta is now allowing dangerous and violent offenders to get off, while victims and their families continue to be victimized, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

An Alberta man who was on trial for first-degree murder had his trial thrown out due to excessive delays, according to court documents obtained through Global News. The trial delay, according to the accused’s defense, has been calculated at 62.5 months.

Wait times for criminal cases are taking up to 63 weeks while civil matters can take up to 138 weeks.

“Actions have consequences. Without having critical shortages filled for judges in our courts, we are seeing accused violent offenders walk free. It’s wrong and incredibly disturbing,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “Ottawa needs to start getting to work so victims see justice for criminals who should be behind bars.”

Earlier this year, two sexual assault trials in Calgary faced delays because of judge shortages.

Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister Scott Cyr echoed the calls from Alberta Chief Justice, Neil Wittmann, to take action for what he called “Ottawa’s unfathomable failure to fill vacancies.”

“The reality is, there are simply not enough resources in our courts. It causes delays and increased costs over the longer term,” Cyr said. “The province needs to fix this problem and send a clear message to Ottawa that further delays in filling judge vacancies and new appointments will no longer be acceptable.”