Government says it plans to address court backlog

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta said last week it plans to make a new investment in the justice system to hire 35 Crown prosecutors and an additional 30 support staff, a move it says will add to the 15 Crown prosecutors currently being recruited. There are currently 310 Crown prosecutors which would increase to 360 over the next year, including those who appear at first instance bail hearings.

“It’s critical that our justice system works well for Albertans and that they have confidence in it,” said Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “That takes resources, which is why this government is investing in the system. In light of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Jordan, this new investment is more important than ever.”

The Supreme Court’s Jordan decision, which came down in the summer of 2016, limits how long a case can take.

Eric Tolppanen, Assistant Deputy Minister, Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, said additional prosecutors will help ease the current workload pressure facing Crown offices throughout the province.

“This funding will allow the Prosecution Service to return to full complement and look towards growth in target areas, Tolppanen said. “There is more work to do, and together with our partners, we are moving in the right direction.”

The new investment would include an increase of approximately $14.5 million to address court and Crown pressures. This funding will be presented as part of Budget 2017 and is subject to approval by the Legislative Assembly.

The announcement came a day after Wildrose Leader Brian Jean sent a column to media in the province stating accused criminals are “being stayed because of mismanagement and a lack of resources in our courts.”

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