NEWS RELEASE · 6th June 2011
BC Conservative Party
Mr. Cummins addressed the Liberal government’s plans to reduce the hours of 52 auxiliary deputy and part-time sheriffs, equivalent to eliminating 34 full-time positions, implemented on Friday.
"This demonstrates that justice is not a priority for the Liberal government,” said Mr. Cummins. “ They waste tens of millions on buying carbon credits - but cut back on essential services like sheriffs."
Sheriffs have a number of duties ranging from escorting prisoners to and from courts for their appearances, providing security within the courtrooms and throughout the courthouse and running search gates for high-security cases.
“According to this government, there is simply not enough money to pay for these services as we are in a deficit,” said Mr. Cummins. “Might I remind them they created this deficit, and as a result of these cut backs, they are putting the safety of judges, courtroom attendees and more at risk through the absence of this vital tool of justice.”
February's provincial budget approved cuts totalling $14.5 million for court services, prosecution services and the judiciary, despite a published warning from the provincial court that more than 2,000 criminal cases are at risk of being quashed due to excessive delays. The result has been closures of courtrooms across the province, including cities such as in Kelowna, Kamloops, Victoria, and Nanaimo.
“Closing the courts cripples our ability to deliver justice,” stated Mr. Cummins. “Public safety should be the primary concern of this government. In order to protect our citizens, we need hold criminals accountable in an expedient and efficient manner.”
Lack of resources not only raises the concern of violence in court and delay in court cases, it neglects to put the victim first.
“Victims are the priority here – they need closure. This Liberal government is imposing financial and emotional strains on these people where they have done nothing wrong,” said Mr. Cummins. “The system is simply being allowed to fail them.”