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

Two vehicle incident at Leckie and Baron

UPDATE: 5:56 p.m. RCMP is on the scene at a two-vehicle crash… Continue reading

Grounded: Kelowna Falcons early season struggles continue

The Falcons move to 2-8 after another loss Monday night

Collision on Harvey Avenue and Dillworth Drive

The road should be cleared up momentarily

UBC Okanagan soccer season gets early start

Both men’s and women’s Heat squad gear up for early start to new season

UPDATE: Grass fire sparks in West Kelowna near Carrington Road

Kelowna firefighters coming to aid West Kelowna fire department

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Shuswap car dealership seeks return of unique stolen Jeep

The red 1989 four-by-four was taken from Salmon Arm GM’s lot early Monday morning.

College investigates Okanagan physiotherapist

Stephen Witvoet’s matters are currently before the courts

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

MPs hear retired South Okanagan nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Okanagan library branch back in business after Monday closure

Discovery of unknown powdery substance in Vernon book return prompts evacuation, closure

Hergott: Contribution and Expectation of a will

Lawyer Paul Hergott continues his column on wills

Most Read