Jim Bennett, Leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, is
calling upon government to increase the amount of time court proceedings
take place on the northern peninsula, especially in St. Anthony.
Currently, circuit court proceedings on the northern peninsula take place 40
days per year. This process involves a judge traveling from Corner Brook 8
times a year for a five day period. This has delayed court proceedings for
extended periods of time, and has denied affected individuals timely access
to the judicial system.
"The current circuit court system on the northern peninsula is not
acceptable," said Mr. Bennett. "People in this region of our province do not
have equal access to the judicial system and often experience long delays in
having their day in court. This government reduced the amount of time the
court sits on the northern peninsula by 20 per cent and this has definitely
had a negative impact.
"I am demanding government address this problem as soon as possible.
Government should immediately assign a judge to St. Anthony to reduce the
backlog of cases being experienced in this area so people can receive
justice. I am also asking the Minister of Justice to examine the possibility
of returning a full-time judge to St. Anthony to ensure these backlogs donít
return in the future.
"Now that the province has additional funds to invest in these vital
services, I hope the minister wonít turn a blind eye to this major problem.
Most people in the province are expecting a good news budget as a result of
the millions of surplus dollars received through increased oil prices. Now
is the time to reinstate some of the services that this government cut in
their first two and a half years in office."