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Progress on Youth Court Case Processing

first_imgProgress is being made on reducing youth court case processing time. As part of its response to the Nunn Commission, the Department of Justice set a target to reduce youth court processing to 98 days. Figures show court processing was 101 days in 2006-07, down from 108 days in 2005-06. “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of courts, police, the Public Prosecution Service, Legal Aid and many others, we are making progress toward reaching our target,” said Justice Minister Cecil Clarke. “As Commissioner Nunn and all justice partners recognize, we need to continue to work to ensure youth in conflict with the law face the courts as quickly as possible.” In his report, McEvoy Inquiry Commissioner Merlin Nunn recommended the province work to reduce processing time and report on results. He noted that Britain could serve as a model, at 71 working days, or 98 days including weekends, which is how court processing has been measured in Canada. A committee of people working in the justice system has identified and is addressing court processing roadblocks. The group’s research showed that 71 per cent of youth court processing time is spent in the pre-trial stage. Efforts to reduce pre-trial delays include providing information to youth and parents about court preparation and tracking disclosure to identify and correct bottle necks. In its response to the Nunn Commission, the province also provided almost $500,000 to allow the IWK to hire clinical social workers and psychologists to speed up pre- and post-trial youth mental health assessments. Efforts to reduce post-trial delays include timely submission of pre-sentence reports, developing protocols for youth who do not show up for post-trial assessments and ensuring additional probation staff attend youth court. The province will retain the 98-day target as it works with the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics to adopt its revised method of measuring court processing time. An update and revised target will be issued in June. Implementation of the recent crime prevention strategy and on-going implementation of the Nunn recommendations is expected to accelerate progress toward the 98-day goal. Other Nunn commission recommendations implemented include the launch of a new provincial Child and Youth Strategy, opening a youth attendance centre in Halifax, and a new youth bail supervision program. The province was also pleased to see the federal government introduce amendments to improve the Youth Criminal Justice Act, in response to strong lobbying from Nova Scotia and recommendations from Commissioner Nunn.last_img read more

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