NEWS RELEASE · 16th September 2011
BC Conservative Party
This week, charges dropped against Prince George cocaine dealer, Joe Hammer, make clear once again that BC's justice system in underfunded.
"A lack of sheriffs, court clerks and judges led to unconstitutional trial delays, causing the case being thrown out by the judge," said Mr. Cummins.
"Hammer sold cocaine to an undercover police officer. This case should have been open and closed."
February's provincial budget approved cuts totalling $14.5 million for sheriffs, court clerks and judges, despite a published warning from the provincial court that more than 2,000 criminal cases were at risk of being quashed due to excessive delays. Joe Hammer's case is just one example of the impact of underfunding.
In Prince George alone, thirty provincial courts administrators have been cut since 2007, including 3.5 court sheriff positions.
"Our ability to protect the public must not be compromised by underfunding," stated Mr. Cummins. "Public safety should be the primary concern of this government. The citizens of Prince George, and all of BC, deserve to feel safe. Letting a known cocaine trafficker back onto the streets due to an underfunding of the court system, is a travesty that this Liberal government must not allow being repeated."