Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

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Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby NAB » Aug 30th, 2012, 7:31 pm

B.C. justice system suffering from “culture of delay,” review finds

Criminal cases in B.C.’s provincial courts should be resolved within six months, the lawyer charged with reviewing the backlogged justice system said Thursday.

“The culture of delay that has existed for too long must be replaced by a culture of timeliness,” said Geoffrey Cowper, who was appointed by Premier Christy Clark in February to consult the legal community and come up with recommendations for dealing with court delays.

Cowper’s report, entitled A Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century, was delivered to Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond on Tuesday and released to the public at a news conference in downtown Vancouver Thursday. In the 270-page report, Cowper calls for systemic change to meet the public’s expectations for the fair and timely delivery of justice.

His recommendations include the appointment of five new provincial court judges “to aggressively reduce” or even eliminate the backlog of cases clogging the courts.

“We have a great opportunity right now,” said Cowper. “With the decline in crime and the decline in cases, the backlog is actually lower than it has been for years. I think we should not stop at this point. I think we should get rid of it entirely.”

Bond said she will release an action plan in the fall, laying out how government will respond to the recommendations, but she made no financial commitments to appointing five new judges, nor did she have a clear timeline for carrying out any changes.

Her first priority will be to target the inexpensive changes, such as finding inefficiencies in court scheduling.

“I’ve been very clear that the first answer to solving problems isn’t writing a cheque,” she said. “If we make systemic changes, that will free up resources to improve the system.”

NDP Attorney General critic Leonard Krog called the justice system “broken” and urged Bond to appoint the five judges to get rid of the backlog of cases.

“The provincial government could hire the new five and see if that has the impact that is expected,” Krog said.

Those five judges should be appointed by the end of the year, said Kerry Simmons, a Victoria lawyer and the president of the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association.

“I don’t know if those five would eliminate the backlog, but they would certainly help reduce it,” she said.

The backlog of provincial cases dropped in 2011-2012 from 33,000 to just over 26,000 cases. Data from the Ministry of Justice show a drop of 8,000 in the number of impaired-driving cases referred to Crown counsel as a result of the new immediate roadside prohibitions.

But the age of the pending cases has risen and is a concern. Almost 50 per cent of those cases have been in the system for more than eight months. Four per cent of pending cases have been in the system for more than two years.

There are still far too many cases taking longer than 18 months to complete, said Samiran Lakshman, president of the B.C. Crown Counsel Association. He urged government to implement changes as soon as possible.

Bond agreed with Cowper’s suggestion that most cases should be cleared within six months.

“Justice takes too long,” Bond said.

The report includes an analysis of B.C.’s charge assessment process by Gary McCuaig, Alberta’s former chief prosecutor, which concludes that Crown counsel should continue to be responsible for approving charges, instead of turning that job over to police, as is done in some jurisdictions.

“I agree with that recommendation. From a systems perspective the approval of charges by police would create unhelpful duplication of effort and would result in a far higher level of stays of proceeding,” said Cowper.
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby Gone_Fishin » Aug 30th, 2012, 7:44 pm

NAB wrote:NDP Attorney General critic Leonard Krog called the justice system “broken” and urged Bond to appoint the five judges to get rid of the backlog of cases.

“The provincial government could hire the new five and see if that has the impact that is expected,” Krog said.



Ah yes, the NDP/Union coalition solution: throw millions of taxpayers' dollars at it and see if something happens. Just swell, Lenny.
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby steven lloyd » Aug 31st, 2012, 7:29 am

NAB wrote:B.C. justice system suffering from “culture of delay,” review finds.

Obviously just throwing money at this will solve little - although irresponsible and reckless cuts made in the early 2000s ("What does this do? I don't know - let's cut it") terribly exacerbated what problems that already existed and we’ve just started to pay for that (the rehiring of hundreds of new people across the system that have to be trained to replace the fully trained and experienced people we lost - from already the leanest public sector in the country - is very expensive, as just one example). However, there are many shifts that have to be made - as outlined in the report - and many have been initiated (diverting more offenders from the Court through “alternative measures”, for example). It’s too bad you don’t have a PM function Nab.

eta: for the record, few of us who work within the system relish the idea of even more offenders being diverted away from the Court (although these are typically lower risk offenders and the research supports it, we are now including relationship violence offences), but increasing the use of alternative measures was an initiative and direction of this government to start clearing up the mess they created.
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby NAB » Aug 31st, 2012, 9:08 am

Yes, but what I find remarkable is that so much political hay was expended in initiating this review, then when it comes down virtually the first words out of this government's mouth are that they will not even debate following it before deciding whether or not to follow its recommendations. IMO they were not really serious in the first place, just trying to score a few political points at the time.

As for the PM thing, ...patience ;-)

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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby Al Czervic » Aug 31st, 2012, 9:22 am

*try again without the personal attack/Jo*
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby GordonH » Aug 31st, 2012, 9:27 am

When you have to start compromising yourself and your morals for the people around you, it’s probably time to change the people around you.
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby NAB » Aug 31st, 2012, 9:37 am

Yup, the "main conclusion" being what was already well known before the review was even commissioned LOL. And the action playing with looking for "efficiencies" to speed up the process known and already under way too without benefit of the report recommendations. Just kicking the can down the road by outright deferring/rejecting the "hard decision" part of the recommendations regarding putting the resources (even if just temporarily) in place to get the work of clearing the backlog quickly underway makes the whole thing look like nothing more than a political ploy and a waste of money even having the review done.

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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby Al Czervic » Aug 31st, 2012, 9:52 am

*off-topic/Jo*
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby NAB » Aug 31st, 2012, 10:02 am

If you read the first post in the thread, it should be obvious to you I already knew what the government reaction was, as well as what the review contained, the opposition's reaction to it, and who contributed to the discussions that resulted in the review, ...and in full, not just a snip. My opinion about the governments (I.e. CC and Shirley Bond's) reaction to it stands, and to me is a total disappointment and waste of money now, since obviously nothing seriously constructive that can produce the results needed will happen before the next election, and probably not for a long time after it as well. We need judges and more court time to get this backlog cleared and on top of it, not just endless juggling of the existing deck chairs. We either pay now, or we pay far more later.

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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby Al Czervic » Aug 31st, 2012, 10:13 am

NAB wrote:If you read the first post in the thread, it should be obvious to you I already knew what the government reaction was, as well as what the review contained, the opposition's reaction to it, and who contributed to the discussions that resulted in the review, ...and in full, not just a snip. My opinion about the governments (I.e. CC and Shirley Bond's) reaction to it stands, and to me is a total disappointment and waste of money now, since obviously nothing seriously constructive that can produce the results needed will happen before the next election, and probably not for a long time after it as well. We need judges and more court time to get this backlog cleared and on top of it, not just endless juggling of the existing deck chairs. We either pay now, or we pay far more later.

Nab


So basically you are stating your usual anti Liberal opinion. I have no doubt had the Government done a knee jerk reaction you would have criticized that as well. Bottom line is that it is entirely reasonable that Government would need time read the report in full, then do a cost/benefit analysis of the proposed recommendations and of course new money would have to be found in the next budget to implement those changes, which will be more difficult given that soon to be opening fiscal hole that you and your pals in FIGHT HST helped to create and now want to complain about the repercussions of.

Aside from the budgetary aspects, selecting and vetting judges is a process that also takes time (even with the budget in place) Your “opinion” ignores all of these realities and is the usual bash the Liberals commentary that you have been engaging in for years.
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby Al Czervic » Aug 31st, 2012, 10:26 am

NAB wrote:You seemingly just cannot avoid injecting personal attacks and insults and stick to the issue at the same time can you Al..

Nab



I am simply pointing out that you have overlooked legitimate aspects that Government would need to consider in this process. You simply stated a negative opinion that “nothing constructive” would occur prior to the next election. I pointed out that it is reasonable that a legitimate internal review process would need to occur first before anything could be implemented and money found in a future budget.
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby NAB » Aug 31st, 2012, 10:31 am

You "simply" have no idea what (if anything) I overlooked in forming MY OPINION on this matter! To suggest that I did is nothing more than YOUR OPINION (and an ASSUMPTION) either. And just leave the personal stuff out of it please because you don't have a clue about that either.

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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby Al Czervic » Aug 31st, 2012, 10:44 am

NAB wrote:You "simply" have no idea what (if anything) I overlooked in forming MY OPINION on this matter! To suggest that I did is nothing more than YOUR OPINION (and an ASSUMPTION) either. And just leave the personal stuff out of it please because you don't have a clue about that either.

Nab




Let’s examine this further….

I am certain that you can likely comprehend that appointing new judges costs money.

And likewise the majority of the other recommendations would also cost money to implement, I think you grasp that concept.

Likewise you also probably realize that spending new money to add more services (or judges in this case) would need to be incorporated into a budget. I don’t believe that concept is rocket science.

In other posts you have acknowledged that BC will have an “election” budget occurring before the next election (I can post your acknowledgement of this is you are in dispute).

Thus it is entirely possible that this new budget could include new monies to implement at least some of the recommendations and even more so as it is an election budget.

Thus it is entirely conceivable (perhaps even likely) that at least some of these recommendations could be implemented before the next election and there is certainly no way of knowing that this would NOT occur. Yet in spite of all of that your comment was…


My opinion about the governments (I.e. CC and Shirley Bond's) reaction to it stands, and to me is a total disappointment and waste of money now, since obviously nothing seriously constructive that can produce the results needed will happen before the next election, and probably not for a long time after it as well



From my perspective you ignored reasonable considerations solely to once again cast a negative light as is typically your posting pattern in these threads, much as mine is anti-NDP. The difference of course is that I am willing to admit my frequent anti NDP comments and do not whine about those who call me out on what is factually accurate and obvious….
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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby NAB » Aug 31st, 2012, 11:38 am

What I ignored from your perspective you have no reasonable grounds to even comment on, because you have no idea whether or not I ignored anything at all, you just "assume it" since I did not post EVERYTHING I consider(ed) with respect to this issue. I am reminded from some years ago your comment that when I made such posts that tried to clearly outline all aspects of my argument in one post you weren't able to deal with too many points at once. Just trying to be helpful ;-) And no, I won't bother going digging for the related post where you said that just to prove it to you.

Edit: Anyway, why not just try to stick to the topic and only the issues related to it as they stand now without derailing the thread onto already well scripted NDP bashing (now or from the 90's or 70's) or throwing in personal insults or innuendo, and maybe I'll find something worth responding further to.

Edit to add: I think the headline containing the words "culture of delay" related to this problem not only speaks volumes as to the overall cause (and the huge costs both in terms of money and social issues impact that such delays have and continue to rack up), but also to this government's part in now perpetuating it in spite of recommendations to the contrary, as well as your support of their need to do that. It is a common theme or "culture" it seems with this government these days to keep kicking the can down the road. They have been doing it on so many fronts for well over three years now. When will it ever end????

By the way, I'm pretty sure that if CC or even Bond wanted to, they could and would quickly find mega dollars to promote something that they feel will enhance their re-election chances, budget be damned and all that numerical nonsense LOL. But I guess our Justice System backlog just isn't important enough to them on that front.

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Re: Fixing B.C's "Culture of Delay" justice system

Postby Queen K » Jul 29th, 2017, 1:22 pm

I miss you Nab.

Having said that BUMP

I wonder if throwing money at the issue would have solved some of the court cases thrown out due to delays?

http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-ne ... t-decision
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