Creston– MLA Michelle Mungall is dismayed that the appointment of a new Provincial Court Judge came too late for communities in the East Kootenays. Last week a man charged with drug offences walked free after waiting two years for his charges to be heard.
In an information bulletin released May 3 by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, it was announced that former Crown counsel lawyer, William Sheard, will take his seat in the Cranbrook Provincial Court May 17. For Mungall, this appointment took far too long.
“I can’t believe that despite the long notice and history of case backlog, it took an alleged coke dealer going free to get this government to act,” stated Mungall. “This situation highlights the BC Liberal Government’s neglect of rural areas’ critical needs.”
According to Dina Bambrick, Executive Director of Kootenai Community Centre, the Solicitor General’s office has known about this gap in service for two years as the planned retirement of judges took effect.
“I’m concerned this won’t be fixed with the appointment of one judge. The backlog is so big it could take years of criminals going free to catch up and I predict it won’t ever at this rate because we need more judges than were in place as it is,” says Bambrick.
Mungall and fellow New Democrats will continue to hold the Liberal Government accountable for the lack of foresight on a wide range of issues. For more information go to www.michellemungall.com