It wasn't all that long ago that our Justice department was put on the chopping block--and a wave of uncertainty rippled through their rank and file like a small tsunami, threatening their very survival. Public opinion, and well organized resistance seemed to repair some of the damage with only a few casualties along the way. This budget cut scared the average person, as if we would break out in a anarchical panic and all heck would break loose in a gun toting society run by thugs and thieves.
We survived December twenty-first. twenty-twelve, and we managed our way through the spring budget in Newfoundland--both equally as stressful to those who thought the world would end.
Some took early retirement and sought greener pastures out west, while others simply quit in disgust. Overall, it would seem that the efforts to maintain the Justice department's budget most certainly has paid off. Caseloads are still high--but show me a court system where they are not high in the western world...it's not possible.
On August 28th I got a good look at how our court system was faring through these difficult times when my wife LynnAnn Noseworthy (Redgrave now) attended the first of her scheduled , four day preliminary enquiry. This is to determine whether or not there is enough solid evidence to proceed with a full blown trial , and justify the cost of a jury with all the fixin's.
Of course she was nervous--who wouldn't be, so was I, only because I hate seeing a loved one in distress--I feel it too. As we walked through the provincial court, it seemed unusually quiet. Normally there is a line up of reprobates outside every court waiting to see a judge. Today it was calm, and relaxed. When we went through security at court number four, my wife and I were the only ones passing through, and the halls were empty. This is a sign that business is being taken care of expeditiously, or so it seems.
When it was time for LynnAnn's hearings to begin--everyone involved was in their place, on time, and ready to go. Prosecutor Dana Sullivan had her video projector set up and ready--LynnAnn's lawyer Scott Hurley, and his attentive assistant were in court and ready to rock. And lets not forget our news media--of course, the best, being our representative from the Telegram, Rosie Gillingham (I am bias--sorry). Last, but not least, our endearing Judge Pamela Goulding, was right on time when she walk in-- introduced by an equally proficient court clerk, who knew her job like the back of her hand. It was a symphony of judicial perfection.
This day in court was not without it's minor glitches--like a witness being sick and going home, and another who could not be located, however; the prosecutor didn't miss a beat and carried on with what she had. We heard testimony from four eye witnesses on this day. All were kind, and polite--and received the same respectful treatment from both Dana Sullivan,and Scott Hurley when he cross examined the witnesses. Remarkably--most testimony was largely in favour of the defense without any ill feelings, or disrespect for the prosecution--it was a very productive, and efficient day within Newfoundlands court system wich is very much alive and doing fine.
The people who work within our court system, whether in security, or sitting on the bench making extremely difficult life changing decisions, are nothing short of the "best of the best". It takes a special kind of dedication to deal with other peoples problems on a daily basis, and resist the temptation to stockpile assault weapons in a secret room in your basement, scheming sinister actions. Our court staff are truly remakably, well organized individuals who don't get nearly enough credit.
Newfoundland's courts are one of the few places where the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is being firmly upheld--This is something we can all be thankful for.