Federal justice minister pledges to appoint more judges 'in the near future'


HALIFAX – Canada’s justice minister says she’s poised to appoint a number of new judges to the bench following criticism from Alberta, where a first-degree murder charge was stayed because of an unreasonable delay in getting an accused to trial.

Jody Wilson-Raybould made the commitment today at the conclusion of a meeting in Halifax with her provincial and territorial counterparts.

Raybould says she plans to announce more appointments in the “near future,” saying the federal government is reviewing the appointment process and the rate of vacancies in every jurisdiction.

Speaking after the meeting, Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said it was troubling to see the family of a victim denied justice, and she pointed out that the province has the country’s lowest number of superior court justices on a per capita basis.

Ganley says the problem has been in the making for decades, but she stressed that both levels of government “understand the urgency of the issue.”

A jury trial was to begin next week in Edmonton for a 29-year-old accused of fatally stabbing a fellow inmate in August 2011, but a judge with the provincial Court of Queen’s Bench stayed the murder charge last Friday, citing a 62-month delay.

© Copyright Times Colonist

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