Provincial Crown attorneys are leaving Happy Valley-Goose Bay quickly and a search is underway to find replacements.
Earlier this month, a source contacted The Labradorian, concerned with the number of Crown lawyers who were planning to leave the area.
On March 18, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed that three lawyers have either left or are planning to leave within the next several months.
“In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the senior Crown recently transferred to the island portion of the province to continue working as a Crown attorney. As well, two Crown attorneys have given their notice to leave over the next several months. As with any other organization, turnover of staff is an issue, but we are taking steps to address this.”
The email also states that there are five Crown lawyers in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Multiple sources, however, claim that the courthouse has been operating with just three Crown lawyers recently. And now that the senior lawyer, John Noseworthy, has left, only two remain, and both have given their notice to leave.
According to the email from the Department of Justice, a new senior Crown attorney from Northern Ontario will be arriving in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on April 28. Two Crown lawyers in St. John’s have also been assigned to deal with the Nain and Natuashish court circuits.
“Covering circuits using Crown attorneys posted in St. John’s is a temporary measure as we continue the recruitment process to hire new Crown attorneys to live in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay region and work in the office there,” reads the email.
“With regards to recruitment, efforts are well underway and we have already identified several potential candidates. Our goal is to have the Happy Valley-Goose Bay office completely staffed with permanent positions as soon as possible.”
According to a source, one of the outgoing attorneys plans to leave in April, while the other will be gone sometime this summer.
Attorney General Felix Collins told The Labradorian that, while the turnover is a concern for the department, the court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has been receiving adequate help from other regions.
“We’ve had people assigned there from St. John’s to assist. We’ve also got the Crown from Wabush coming over to help out,” said Collins.
“Obviously, this is a challenge we face in Labrador. It is our intention, even though we have some turnover at the moment, to have the positions fully staffed and up to speed as fully as possible.”
Collins said that recruiting and maintaining staff in Labrador is challenging, not just for the Department of Justice, but other agencies as well.
“It has to do with a number of issues, having to be away from home, numerous times, doing the circuits,” said Collins. “Challenges with interpretation … as well as cost of accommodations, and a whole host of issues.”
Collins did not say when asked, however, if there were anyone else, besides the new senior Crown lawyer, coming to happy Valley-Goose Bay on a full time basis in the near future.