‘No silver bullet’ to prevent more tossed charges. says Alberta’s top prosecutor

‘No silver bullet’ to prevent more tossed charges. says Alberta’s top prosecutor by Matt McClure, November 2, 2012, Calgary Herald
Alberta’s top prosecutor says the risk that criminal charges will be tossed due to delays is rising as the province’s courts become busier. … Lepp, associate deputy minister of justice, said that in this case delays due to bad weather, illness that kept a key witness from attending court and new evidence that came to the attention of authorities late in the process all played a part. … He said charges in at least seven other cases — including two in Calgary and five in Edmonton — were also tossed last year. … Figures from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics show it now takes 50 per cent longer than it did a decade ago for criminal cases to wind their way through Alberta’s courts, a trend also seen in other provinces. In 1999-2000, it took a median of 83 days from first to final appearance for an Alberta accused. Ten years later, it took a median of 126 days for a case to be completed. … “It’s scandalous that cases that should be prosecuted aren’t because there isn’t enough resources,” he said. “It’s hamburger justice….” … While the crime rate has since declined, a rising population means the province’s courts are still handling roughly the same number of cases each year. … “Alberta is struggling with time to trial, as is every jurisdiction across the country,” Lepp said.“There is no silver bullet.”

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