Justice meeting delayed

Rosie Mullaley
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Waiting until all committee members available

Newfoundland Supreme Court

A meeting of the minds to reassess provincial government budget cuts in the Justice Department will go ahead when all members are available.

A newly struck committee - consisting of government officials and leaders in various branches of Justice - was expected to meet Monday, but the meeting was postponed.

Justice spokesman Luke Joyce said it's a matter of scheduling.

"We are in the process of setting an acceptable meeting date and time that works for all of those involved in the committee," the spokesman said.

Joyce added Justice Minister Darin King will not make any comment until the committee has finished its work.

The committee will be made up of King, Attorney General Tom Marshall, Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy, chairman of the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission Nick Avis, director of public prosecutions Donovan Molloy, the province's high sheriff Ernie Boone and St. John's lawyer Bob Simmonds, representing the legal profession.

Last week, King said the decision to form the committee was in response to the immense outcry from the public and those within the justice system to cuts in the department.

Some felt the cuts were too deep.

King said the biggest concerns expressed to him have focused around public safety and the timely adminstration of justice - more specifically, the loss of Crown prosecutors, sheriff's officers and legal aid lawyers.

When the budget was first announced, it was determined that four Crown prosecutors would lose their jobs, while the sheriff's office in St. John's would be slashed in half - from 40 officers to 20.

Legal aid may lose up to eight lawyers.

King wouldn't make promises about reinstating positions, but said there could be a reduction in the number of job losses.

He said he will take the recommendations of the committee to the premier, who will have the final say.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com Twitter: @TelyCourt


Organizations: Justice Department, Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission Nick Avis

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Simple Savings
    April 09, 2013 - 14:45

    On a Go Forward plan this committee needs to review the in Excess of a quater of a Million dollar annual expense to continue running the WASH Court (Weekend and Statutory Holidays). This is an instant savings to the Justice system that will enable Justice to continue to provide the same level of services without cutting as many Jobs. Weekend Court in St.John's can be handled easily via TeleLink like its currently done right across the Province and Labrador. Eliminating Wash court will save the cost of 4 or More Volunteering Sheriffs on OT (Sat and Sunday), save the cost of Crown and Legal Aid Lawyers and as well as a Judge and Clerk being present in Atlantic Place. Accused can still make a timely Court appearance via TeleLink within the required 24hr right to appear, via the Telephone at the in Custody facility which they are being held, just like currently happens right across the Province. There is NO expense to implement this process All the equipment is currently in use at all Courts in this Province. Further more a Justice can facilitate this Court appearance from wherever suits them best, be it there office, there home study, wherever. As is current practice across the province if the Crown agrees to release an accused from an in custody facility after they are arrested, the release papers are faxed to that facility for signing and the accused walks out the door. If the crown wants to have a bail hearing the accused is held for core Court hours beginning Monday morning. This is such an easy savings of Government money it's almost too foolish to talk about. It's a process that's used right across our provincial judicial jurisdiction but has yet to be implemented in St.John's. It's also a process practiced in other Provincial jurisdictions. Eliminating the WASH Court from St.John's in no way compromises an accused's Charter of Rights, as said before it's been the practice for Years now across the island, St.John's has just acted as the HUB for facilitating.

  • Alec C
    April 09, 2013 - 13:03

    Greatest Injustice in NL history was appointing King to Justice - it would be better if 0 MHAs were on this committee so actual work would be accomplished. Retired judges and lawyers (defense and crown) should round out this committee, not partisan politicians. Law professors would also be a nice addition- not much will come from PC appointed committee (SHOCK). Should ALL PC MHAs be disbarred from practicing law in NL since they are gutting the legal and oversight systems?

  • Concerned tax payer
    April 09, 2013 - 11:21

    I have two concerns. First is with the composition of the committee. There is nobody on this committee that questioned the cuts in the first place, Avis spoke out only to re-iterate what one of his lawyers had said, and to say that the lawyer had been disciplined for speaking out. Bob simmonds spoke out, but he is a tory hack and will go along with whatever his old buddy Jerome says. Why are there no crown attorneys, legal aid lawyers or sheriffs on this committee? My second concern is with the delay. Was announcing this review just aploy to lower the heat? Will this committee suffer the same fate as Justice William Marshall's review? Marshall was supposed to conduct an independent review starting in 2007-8, a million bucks was set aside, here we are in 2013 and nothing has been done on the review. It looks pretty bad for King to say, we have created a committee we are meeting on Monday, results will be released by the end of the week and then, less than 72 hours later, we have to delay the meeting to a yet unascertained date. Seriously? My money is on King being shuffled out of this portfolio by the end of May. Too much heat and he appears to be in way over his head.

  • gerry
    April 09, 2013 - 10:13

    Sooooo Crock...what? I'm no fan of Dunderdale & her incompetent gang, but are your'e saying the meeting should go ahead without everyone there? If they did, I'd bet dollars to donuts someone would cry 'What?!?! They started the meeting without all the players?!?'...unbeleivable.....

    April 09, 2013 - 08:39

    Unbelievable! We have to wait until all of the politicians come back from vacation. Just a typical tactic of the PC government to buy some time. My family and friends will never vote PC again. Vote ABC.

  • Stann
    April 09, 2013 - 08:21

    Kathy, King and gang can't even organize a meeting.............

  • Harvey
    April 09, 2013 - 08:16

    Really...will NLers listen to Dunderdale following yesterday's poll results? Further to that, will they listen to any of the gov't member?

    • Danny
      April 09, 2013 - 12:00

      25% after poll padding ..lol

  • mo'money
    April 09, 2013 - 07:48

    I wonder how much they're going to be paid for this commmittee? Enough to rehire a couple of employees maybe?