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

Victoria Police host Faith-Based Safety Forum in light of recent religious attacks

More than 35 faith-based leaders voice concerns, air questions

Still barriers to abortion access on Vancouver Island

Experts say transportation, support, doctors can be barriers to accessing abortion

Oak Bay dog walk benefits guide dogs

Two more walks set for Sunday in Victoria and Colwood

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Most Read