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

Comedy, chicken poop and dancing at Lytton Festival

This year’s festival will honour longtime supporter Shirley James

LETTER: Recreational angling has low-impact on Fraser salmon

Jason Tonelli writes about his displeasure at the call to close recreational fishing on the Fraser

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read