A Vancouver criminal lawyer says a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on court delays today will mean hundreds of B.C. cases being thrown out.
The top court ruled unreasonable delays are a violation of a person’s right to a timely trial.
But speaking to CKNW’s Simi Sara, Paul Doroshenko says the blame rests solely with the provincial government.
“You have to have extra people. You have to fund the justice system. You have to make sure they’re ready and available. We’re talking about people who are accused of committing offences and crimes. You can’t just let them hang.”
“I can probably go through my filing cabinet and find two or three files that are not going to be in compliance with this ruling right now.”
Doroshenko says B.C. courtrooms are understaffed in everything from judges and sheriffs to other court staff positions.
“They’re not appointing enough judges… Sometimes you have enough judges but you don’t have the court staff.”
B.C. Justice Minister responds
For her part, B.C.’s Justice Minister isn’t outlining any new plans for new court funding just yet.
Suzanne Anton says the Criminal Justice Branch is analyzing today’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling.
But the focus right now is to find ways to keep certain matters – like family and small claims cases – out of the courts and divert resources.
“If there needs to be initiatives undertaken, we will consider that. But at the moment, I’m very confident in the staffing of our provincial court system.”
Anton says the province continues to make investments in the justice system, like new additions to Surrey’s courthouse.
She adds the vast majority of cases do fall within the guidelines set by the top court today.