B.C. appoints five provincial court judges

Five new provincial court judges will help B.C.'s backlogged court system, but the system is still falling behind, says NDP justice critic Leonard Krog.

NDP justice critic Leonard Krog

VICTORIA – Five new provincial court judges will help B.C.’s backlogged court system, but the system is still falling behind, says NDP justice critic Leonard Krog.

New judges were named Sunday by Attorney-General Barry Penner to serve in Surrey, Vernon, Williams Lake and Prince George. The new appointments will allow the chief judge of the provincial court to assign an extra judge to Vancouver as well.

Krog said the five new judges represent fewer than a third of the 17 the provincial court estimated were needed in a report on the issue last fall. Numerous prosecutions have been dropped because of delays in getting them to trial, and thousands more are at risk of the same fate.

In late June, Penner reversed a budget cut to part-time sheriffs that reduced the service by the equivalent of 34 full-time sheriffs, after judges raised the alarm about risks to courtroom security. Sheriffs are responsible for keeping order in courtrooms and moving prisoners to and from custody for their court appearances.

“We’re down about 100 [sheriffs] from where we were a few years ago, and that led to a number of court cases being delayed,” Krog said Monday.

Changes to B.C.’s impaired driving regulations are also reducing the load on the provincial court system. The government estimated that impaired cases were taking up half the available time in some courthouses, but switching to roadside administrative penalties has led to a 75 per cent drop in impaired cases going to court.

Krog said the inadequate legal aid funding is creating more pressure on the overtaxed court system. Family cases involving custody, access and maintenance are increasingly being heard in provincial court, often without lawyers, he said.

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s Arrowview Hotel will be demolished

City council chooses lowest of three demolition bids

VIDEO: Man found dead near Alberni teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18

Soapbox derby a success in uptown Port Alberni

Organizers say an adult racing category is coming for 2020

Alberni teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

Two Port Alberni teens are missing after their vehicle was found on… Continue reading

Watch the museum come to life with Our Town in Port Alberni

July 23 event takes place at Gyro Recreation Park

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

B.C. Ferries crew member’s medical emergency causes cancellations on Nanaimo route

One sailing from West Vancouver and one sailing from Nanaimo cancelled Monday

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Most Read