Monday, July 31, 2006

Court crisis?

Why not fix it ? How about regular business hours - and special courts to deal with less serious matters? PR

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Courts in crisis over judicial shortage

James Wallace
Queens Park - Saturday, July 22, 2006

For the past decade, a succession of elected officials helped butter their
political bread by announcing crack downs on all manner of crime.

They've targeted child pornographers, marijuana grow house operators, street
racers and even pit bulls.

They've put more cops on street, built more jails, not only to deal with
increasing and increasingly complex crimes but to cope with a population
that has grown by several million people over that time.

Inexplicably, the same politicians have resisted hiring more judges to hear
the inevitable increase in new cases created by their crackdowns and
population growth.

As a consequence, courts across Ontario are struggling with crushing
backlogs, Crowns are increasingly being forced to plea bargain, police are
letting petty criminals off the hook and children and families are being
forced to wait for justice.

'The whole system is off balance,' Heather McGee, president Ontario Bar
Association, told Osprey News.

'It's been running thin for so long that all it takes is one major trial or
an incremental increase in population and you lose the ability to deal with
things in a timely and effective manner,' McGee said.

The current and looming judicial shortage is a significant part of the

'Our judicial complement has been more or less static for the last decade,'
McGee said.
'I think the last time new positions were created was 1999, only two positions were created.' "

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