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October 20, 2016

New judge positions welcome, but potentially too late for hundreds of victims and their families: Cyr

With a long-overdue commitment to create 10 new judge positions in Alberta coming to fruition, Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley must now press the federal government to appoint more judges in the province and assure victims and their families that their cases will receive due attention, Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister Scott Cyr said today.

The provincial government committed to creating 10 new judge positions today, nine on the Court of Queen’s Bench and one on the Court of Appeal. A lack of judges in Alberta has reached a crisis level and allowed accused murderers to walk free.

“I fully welcome any and all action to create more positions in Alberta. Even though this still falls short of what our province needs, any new appointments are long overdue,” Cyr said. “Justice officials are scrambling to manage growing caseloads and offenders are being let off due to unreasonable delays in their trials. This is a disastrous situation for victims and their families, and I’d like to see a greater sense of urgency from Minister Ganley who could have increased the number of positions in the time she’s served as minister.”

Cyr congratulated crown prosecutors and court workers who he says are working hard to ensure the court system keeps moving, but says they’re facing difficult circumstances. “Our crown prosecutors are doing a tremendous job in these difficult circumstances, but they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Cyr said.

“With reports that up to 400 cases in Calgary alone, including very serious murder cases, could be thrown out, I want to know what Minister Ganley will do to ensure victims and their families receive adequate support from the justice system.”