Justice minister announces reviews of Sheriff’s Office, Legal Aid

James McLeod
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Darin King

By mid-September, the government should have a better idea of what needs to be done to improve the Legal Aid system and the Sheriff’s Office in the province, after Justice Minister Darin King ordered a pair of independent reviews Thursday.

The two reviews were part of a commitment King made earlier this spring when he rolled back cuts to the court system announced in the March 26 provincial budget.

“I have every confidence that what they bring back will be very useful to us in improving the system,” King said. “If that means that we need to change some of how we do some things, we’re prepared to look at that, and if it means that we have to add some more resources in certain areas, then we’re certainly prepared to look at that as part of the budget process.”

Retired RCMP Inspector Leigh DesRoches will do a review of the Office of the High Sheriff including a security audit of risk management and staffing to maximize efficiencies in the court system.

Separately, retired Provincial Court Judge John Rorke will do a comprehensive review of the Legal Aid system.

Liberal justice critic Andrew Parsons said he’s waiting to see what actually comes from these two reviews.

“I’m not going to hold my breath, because they said the exact same with public prosecutions a number of years ago, and nothing got done,” he said. “I want to wait and see where it goes, and if it’s actually going to get done.”

Both reviews are supposed to completed within three months, so they should be done by mid-September.

New Democrat MHA Gerry Rogers said the reviews should have been done before any budget cuts were put into place.

“Why wasn’t this done before the cuts?” she asked. “What were these cuts based on? Certainly not on any kind of empirical evidence.”

Rogers pointed to the Family Violence Intervention Court — one of her pet causes — which was eliminated in the budget this spring to save money.

She said she hopes Rorke’s review will look at that separate court, which kept some family violence cases out of the regular system, and how it affected Legal Aid.

King said he didn’t know how long it would be, after the reports are completed, before they are made public. But he said people will definitely get to read the two reviews for themselves at some point.

“It will become a public document. There’s no question about that,” he said.



Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: RCMP, Office of the High Sheriff

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Recent comments

  • coco
    June 14, 2013 - 15:19

    Yup. He'll keep changing the story until people believe it.

  • Kim
    June 14, 2013 - 15:19

    Why have a review...More MONEY WASTED on what should have been left alone in the beginning...Layoffs then OH NO, We F..k-up......This is going to cost more money to fix...Got to hand it to Ms D...YDALE...Your looking better for retirement everyday..Kiss that fancy office goodbye next election..Better yet,you should take King and Kennedy and get out now.YOU GUYS ARE A DISGRACE TO THE HARD WORKING POEPLE OF NL,WHO TRUSTED YOU WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS..

  • Torey Nomore
    June 14, 2013 - 14:04

    The roll backs and cuts are examples of a typical Tory trial balloon. Blindly make decisions, throw it out there, gauge the public response; re-tract and let them think its consultation. Another way to payoff Tory supporters by commissioning a review; the findings are already determined. He who pays for a report gets to determine the findings. Another reason why I cannot vote Tory no more.

  • Flingo
    June 14, 2013 - 13:45

    Will the review of Legal Aid look only at the number of lawyers? Or will it also look at LA management, management structure, improper spending, hiring, why so many lawyers are leaving, the number of wrongful dismissal suits and pay-outs? I expect the retiring Provincial Director will be blamed for any fault found, whether his decision or not.

  • King Darnit
    June 14, 2013 - 13:19

    Here's a sneak preview of my next announcement; you'll see that I really do know what I'm talking about and can modulate it clearly to the electorate in simple language: nfpeio anfieaon;zcvn;adin ;alnfa oidnfa; oandfkn one; n;malndfikneiona; oin;lk dnafop ljlanfidonf;e oinfaoidnfkle;anfa onen, nfu dlsua fnefa olen;nfa fndkfienf ddkfnein ontdof ndo a8urj fyoaudfuoe 9ru0e fjanva ;re ufald nfaiejr

  • Reverse Order
    June 14, 2013 - 12:39

    Oh, Darnit; I've gone it done it all arse-forwards again! Why am I always so confused?

  • Dianne
    June 14, 2013 - 12:10

    Once more PART of Danny Williams legacy...Most of our problem's we have in our province came from...Our former premier...And it's growing everyday...That the thing...

  • EDfromRED
    June 14, 2013 - 12:05

    We are supposed to believe this will be an accurate, fair and open review? This from the same Justice System that is so cowed by the Government that it suspended, then pressured into retiring, Ray Kuszelewski, the area director of legal aid for central Newfoundland. What a bunch of bull. The official logo for civil servants in NL should be the See,Speak and Hear no evil monkeys. If you point out flaws in the system you get the boot.

  • Eli
    June 14, 2013 - 11:52

    "People will definitely get to read the two reviews for themselves at some point". Like a blanket, that covers a multitude of sins.Who wants to read it in five years if then? I don't trust King or anything he says. More PC shag-ups.