News details

Connection







Lost password?

Latest news

Not all Questions are Good Questions: Avoiding Discriminatory Interview Practices
Not all Questions are Good Questions: Avoiding Discriminatory Interview Practices

Much ink has been spilled over a recent decision by the Commission de la fonction publique (the "Commission") on the topic of discriminatory interview practices. In Association des procureurs aux poursuites criminelles et pénales et Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales[1], the Commission found that the plaintiff had been discriminated against when she was denied a position due to her pregnancy.

[ ...More ]
Publication date : 2018-10-11
Federal government facing pushback over bill to transform justice system
Federal government facing pushback over bill to transform justice system

One thing that both the prosecution and the defence seem to agree on is that the federal government’s push to cut preliminary inquiries in most criminal cases will not solve the long-standing problem of delays in the criminal justice system.

[ ...More ]
Publication date : 2018-10-01
National Prosecution Authority (NPA) Hosts International Conference of Prosecutors Focusing on Prose
National Prosecution Authority (NPA) Hosts International Conference of Prosecutors Focusing on Prose

More than 400 senior prosecutors, including heads of prosecuting agencies from 83 countries, have descended in Johannesburg to attend the 23rd Annual General Meeting and Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC), from 9 – 13 September 2018. The conference, hosted under the leadership of acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Silas Ramaite SC will be opened with a keynote address by the Minister of Justice & Correctional Services, Michael Masutha on Monday 10 September.

[ ...More ]
Publication date : 2018-09-11
South Africa hosts The International Association of Prosecutors’ Conference, 9-14 September 2018
South Africa hosts The International Association of Prosecutors’ Conference, 9-14 September 2018

South Africa will from 9 – 14 September 2018 host the annual International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg under the theme: “Prosecutorial Independence – the Cornerstone of Justice to Society”.

[ ...More ]
Publication date : 2018-09-10
Crown attorneys want to form a union, but NDP government presents a hurdle
Crown attorneys want to form a union, but NDP government presents a hurdle

Alberta’s Crown prosecutors want to unionize, but face hurdles to their bid, including the wording of provincial legislation and opposition from the NDP government.

[ ...More ]
Publication date : 2018-08-17
Ford opposes handgun ban as he pledges funds to fight gun violence
Ford opposes handgun ban as he pledges funds to fight gun violence

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he opposes a handgun ban in Toronto because it would penalize legal gun owners, but vowed to help tackle gun violence in the city by pledging $25-million over four years for police and the courts.

[ ...More ]
Publication date : 2018-08-09


<-- Back to archived news

No quick fix for Nova Scotia’s slow court system

24-11-2016

Rick Woodburn is a Crown prosecutor in Halifax and president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel. (CBC)

 

The planned expansion of a program that diverts people accused of minor crimes from Nova Scotia's courtrooms will not fix long delays in an overburdened system, according to a Crown prosecutor in Halifax.

 

It's the growing number of major crimes like murder and weapons offences that slow the system down, not minor offences usually covered by the restorative justice program, said Rick Woodburn, president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel. The group represents the interests of Crown prosecutors and Crown civil lawyers across the country.

 

"They'll tote quick fixes, but ultimately we need the resources to make this thing work," Woodburn told CBC's Information Morning. 

 

"It's just a numbers game. If you have five cases and one judge, he can't hear all of them."

 

Restorative justice is a way of diverting people not charged with serious, violent or sexual crimes from the court system. It typically involves young offenders and victims reconciling their differences through face-to-face meetings or coming together as a group.

 

Earlier this week, Justice Minister Diana Whalen said she was optimistic that expanding the program to include adults would keep some cases away from the court and relieve some of the pressure to get cases heard more quickly.

 

Serious crimes on the rise

 

Woodburn said that's not a fix. He said more time and effort are needed to address the rising number of major crimes.

 

In 2014-15, the Crown in Halifax prosecuted 24 homicides, 54 attempted murders and nearly 2,000 weapons charges. That's up from zero homicides, 14 attempted murders and about 1,000 weapons charges in 2006-07, said Woodburn.

 

"We just don't have the resources"

 

Along with the increase in serious crime, there's also a lot more evidence to sift through and more time being spent in court. 

 

At one time, a half-empty box of evidence sat on Woodburn's desk. Today there are six boxes of material for each homicide waiting to be examined. 

 

"There's more disclosure, electronic disclosure, expert reports that have to be gone through," he said.

 

"Impaired driving for example used to take a half day. They now take two days. Homicides that used to take two days or a week now take four to five weeks." 

 

Woodburn said the only way to solve the problem is to put more money into the justice system, hire more lawyers, court staff, judges and sheriffs. 

 

"Have they put money in? Yes. But have they put the money in to keep pace with the crimes that are being committed? No, they're not, it's clear. We just don't have the resources."   

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/restorative-justice-crown-prosecutor-halifax-1.3865364