Focused on prosecuting rioters

Re: News editorial, “A temporary court fix,” June 27.

Re: News editorial, “A temporary court fix,” June 27.

There are some key facts missing in the editorial suggesting the creation of a temporary court to process the prosecutions arising out of the Stanley Cup riot.

It’s up to the Provincial Court of British Columbia, not government, to assign and schedule courtrooms for all prosecutions and other cases. In this instance, the Court has designated a courtroom at the Vancouver Provincial Court for the riot trials and sentencing hearings. The judiciary will continue to be responsible for the scheduling of these cases. Electronic equipment has been installed to facilitate the presentation of electronic evidence, in particular video and photographic evidence, as these cases proceed.

Government has contributed approximately $2 million in funding and redirected resources to supporting the Vancouver Police Department’s riot investigation. The Criminal Justice Branch has taken a number of extraordinary procedural steps to facilitate a timely and proactive approach to managing the laying and prosecution of charges against accused rioters. The branch has a dedicated riot prosecution team of six senior Crown Counsel responsible for reviewing and approving charges and managing prosecutions.

Note too that more than 300 charges have been approved against more than 120 accused rioters, and another 200 charges are under review. Justice has already been administered for some who have been found guilty of taking part in the riot. To date, over 30 accused persons – one-quarter of those charged – have pleaded guilty and two have been sentenced to time in jail.

In short, work on these files is focused and thorough, and will continue to be so as more charges are approved and prosecutions initiated.

Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice