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Judge says shortage of Vernon courtrooms is causing big problems

Vernon Supreme Court
December 02, 2016 - 9:00 PM

VERNON - A Supreme Court Judge aired his frustrations today over a lack of available court space.

Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole says there are not enough courtrooms in Vernon, which is causing delays and forcing cases to be moved to other courthouses, such as Kelowna.

“People that commit crimes in this community should be tried in this community. The public have a right to hear criminal trials where they are committed,” Cole said.

Today, a hearing for Howard Everett Krewson, who was found guilty in the 2014 second degree murder of a local school teacher, was postponed until the summer of 2017 due to scheduling difficulties and unavailable court space. Cole said he had a similar experience earlier in the week when a dangerous offender hearing was put off for months, and ultimately moved to Kelowna.

“Cases are being delayed and it may be cases are going to be dismissed because we don’t have enough courtrooms here,” Cole said.

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, offenders have the right to a trial without delay and cases with inordinate delays may be tossed. 

Cole also said moving cases out of town is unfair for litigants, lawyers and witnesses who have to drive the extra distance.

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