Alberta to get more judges ‘in due course’

The federal government says more appointments will be made to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench “in due course.”

The federal government says more appointments will be made to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench “in due course.”

The response to an Advocate query, an email from Justice Canada, comes a day after charges were stayed in a home invasion case when a Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench justice ruled that the accused had been denied due process because it took 27 months for the case to get to trial.

On Tuesday morning, Clarissa Lamb, spokesperson for Justice Minister Peter McKay, said the government has made more than 600 judicial appointments since 2006.

“In Economic Action Plan 2014, our government committed to the creation of two federally appointed judicial positions in Alberta,” she wrote in an email.

“Appointments will be made in due course,” Lamb said in another email later Tuesday.

“These additional positions will reduce delays to ensure that cases are heard in a timely matter and that serious charges are not dropped because of hearing delays.”

Alberta Justice said on Monday the province needs 12 more Queen’s Bench justices to have the same number per capita as B.C.

Justice Canada has appointed six Alberta Queen’s Bench justices in 2014, according to its website. Two of those appointments were replacements for justices who had been appointed to the Alberta Court of Appeal and one was for a justice who had died. The other three appointments were replacements for justices who had chosen to become supernumerary or part-time judges. While three justices went part time, three new justices were appointed to full-time positions.

Justice John Little replaced Justice Colleen Kelly, who chose to become a supernumerary judge in May. That Queen’s Bench position was based in Calgary, but was transferred to Red Deer on May 12, 2014, giving the Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench its third justice.

According to Alberta Justice, the province has the fewest Queen’s Bench justices per capita in the country with about one justice per 61,925 people.

“In order for Alberta to be on par with the next lowest jurisdiction — B.C. — the federal government would have to appoint an additional 12 judges,” read a statement from Josh Stewart, press secretary for Alberta Justice Minster Jonathan Denis.

Home invasion charges against three individuals were stayed Monday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench by Justice Monica Bast. Originally arrested in May 2012, it took 27-and-a-half months for their trial to start. When it did, defence counsel made an application for a stay of proceedings because of the length of time it had taken. That motion was granted.

Outside of court, defence counsel said the delay was because of a lack of justices.

The matter had been set for trial in October 2013. However, it was double-booked with another trial and the home invasion case needed to find a new day.

A stay of proceedings means the accused are no longer being prosecuted. The Crown has a year to file an appeal to get the charges brought back.

Home invasion charges can result in up to a 10-year sentence.

Just Posted

Vandal strikes downtown business

Window with PRIDE poster broken

No new RNs hired to Red Deer hospital emergency department in a month: United Nurses of Alberta

UNA filed a grievance in June in response to what they say is a staffing crisis

Traffic pattern to change for summer near interchange

Southbound Hwy 2 traffic to be shifted

Red Deer couple win $100,000 in lottery

Couple won their money on June 1 LOTTO MAX with EXTRA draw

‘Walking survey’ of Red Deer’s green carts starts this week

Gold stars or pointers on correct use will be left on inspected carts

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Cull hasn’t been able to solve bunny burden in Alberta mountain town of Canmore

CANMORE, Alta. — Problems persist in an Alberta mountain town overrun with… Continue reading

Canada should help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany: civil liberties group

OTTAWA — A civil liberties group is urging the Canadian government to… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Send us your photos

Your reader photo may just make the pages of the Adovcate.

Adam Henrique signs $29.1M, 5-year extension with Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Centre Adam Henrique has signed a $29.1 million, five-year… Continue reading

Fashion firms upend design routine to focus on speed, trends

NEW YORK — Prototypes? Passe. Fashion company Betabrand saw that knitwear was… Continue reading

Trimming and tidying: Perennials need care too

The great attraction in growing perennial flowers is that you never have… Continue reading

Johnny Depp settles lawsuits involving former managers

LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has settled lawsuits with his former business… Continue reading

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month